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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102496
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I am a contractor that has advertised on angies list for 6

Customer Question

I am a contractor that has advertised on angies list for 6 years and just this year they switched their website around and in the interim of working the kinks out, I had a incorrect grade of B instead of A for about 6 months, I refused to pay until it was fixed , they said it was being worked on I have countless emails, finally they demanded my advertising money and threatened they would put an exclusion under our name saying we are not in compliance with how a company who advertises on Angies list should be so we are basically blocked with the incorrect grade as well still. We put most of our advertising dollar in to angies list and this drastically effected our income and not to mention in a very internet and review based field we are in, put us out there online in an incorrect light. Can I sue angies list for defamation of character?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
I am sorry to hear about this situation.
Can you please tell me:
1) What state are you in?
2) Is Angie's List grading done by the COMPANY, or, by third party USERS to the site, like Yelp? In other words, how is the grading done? Forgive me, I am unfamiliar with the site.
This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi. I am in Florida. It is a site where members can login and find contractors based on a grade from A-F A of course being the highest.
The members use the contractors services and then review them with a grade.
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Thank you.
Normally, under CDA Sec. 230 (federal law), websites are not responsible for third party user ratings/comments. This would stay true here too, except that the site is manually (on purpose or not) is grading the business lower than the tally of the third party users.
If so, then yes, it may be liable.
To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
Here, the site may be liable for:
DEFAMATION - Under Florida law, the elements of a defamation claim are: the defendant published a false statement; about the plaintiff; to a third party; and the falsity of the statement caused injury to the plaintiff.
Border Collie Rescue v. Ryan, 418 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1348 (M.D.Fla. 2006). A plaintiff must also prove that the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence
NEGLIGENCE - The four elements of negligence are (1) a legal duty owed by defendant to plaintiff, (2) breach of that duty by defendant, (3) an injury to plaintiff legally caused by defendant's breach, and (4) damages as a result of the injury. Paterson v. Deeb, 472 So. 2d 1210 - Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. 1985.
So yes, AL may be liable in such a situation.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am trying to find an attorney to help me with this and it is difficult to find someone in my area that handles this type of case, ot maybe I am not looking in the right way, so you have any recommendations?
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.

May I recommend the FL Bar referral program - (800)(###) ###-####/strong>. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

Someone in your situation is looking for an attorney in any of following areas of law:

GENERAL PRACTICE

LITIGATION

TORT

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.