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AttorneyTom, Attorney
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Hello, I am a general dentist practicing in orange county,

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Hello, I am a general dentist practicing in orange county, california. I found one of my patients left an online review on with wrong spirit. what he wrote on the website is not true. is there any way I can sue him for the loss of our good reputation or for false accusation?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer. I am Thoreau and I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you asked your question.
I'm sorry to hear about the situation. False testimonials can be very damaging and they can create a great deal of distress. When someone makes false statements about someone else, the victim can sue the speaker for defamation. To win, the victim has to shwo that the speaker made untrue statements of fact to a third party which caused damages. Slander is spoken defamation while libel is written defamation. Anyone who negligently repeats defamatory statements is also liable. The victim's first step is to have his attorney send a letter demanding retraction and an appropriate payment for damages and, if that doesn't resolve the matter, the victim may want to proceed with a lawsuit.
I'm sorry to hear about the situation and I hope you're able to resolve it quickly and with minimal harm.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Based on our answer, it looks like the party that negligently repeats means Should I ask yelp.out to remove his online review first in writing? Please advise.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Review sites aren't usually liable for posts that users make. Basically, sites like that are treated more like a forum than a speaker. An analogy would be an amphitheater. If someone stands up in an amphitheater and makes defamatory statements, he is liable for them but the amphitheater itself would not be. Of course, if the amphitheater, as a business, made an official statement regarding the matter, that would expose the company itself to liability for defamation. Does that make sense?
That said, there's nothing wrong with asking a website to remove material and, in the process of a lawsuit, an injunction can be sought to have material removed from one. However, many times, such sites do not comply with requests of that nature because they fear it will damage the integrity of the forum, so legal action is usually necessary if a person won't voluntarily retract.
Please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I've sent a certified mail to him in a nice way explaining how he might have misunderstood. and I have made copies of the mail. will that help if I get to sue him? I didn't ask him directly to retract the review, though. Should I clearly ask him to retract his review? Thanks.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Your letter probably won't improve your chances, but it could hurt them depending on what you wrote. Be very careful with any communications, as anything you say or write could be used against you in a lawsuit. As a fellow professional, I know you'll understand what follows. Just as I wouldn't try to do work on my own teeth, I would recommend that you not try to represent yourself in a legal matter. Let your attorney handle that. While you're entitled to try to do it yourself, it's easy to make damaging statements without knowing it, even when you've done nothing wrong. Further, if you retain an attorney, he's likely to take your communications more seriously. It's funny how an attorney's letterhead can make a wrongdoer think twice about his actions. Involving your attorney shows him that you're serious and that you're going to aggressively protect your rights. Drafting the initial letter shouldn't cost too much and your attorney should be able to quote you a price before doing it.
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