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Negative online reviews cause business litigation for defamation

These days, online reviews can have a tremendous impact on a business. If the ratings and reviews are positive, it is more likely that new customers or clients will utilize those businesses. Of course, the opposite is true when an influx of negative reviews lower ratings. It was recently reported that business litigation has begun over the use of online reviews to defame businesses.

Florida readers may be interested in a case in which a restaurant owner and a law firm have filed claims against the owner of another restaurant. Apparently, the plaintiffs believe that the defendant used fake Google accounts to leave negative reviews online for the plaintiffs' restaurant and law firm. The defendant also allegedly called the other restaurant multiple times a day to make threatening statements and purportedly told individuals at the law firm that the negative reviews would be taken down for a fee. Both plaintiffs believe that the defendant committed defamation.

The reported noted that Google was also named as a defendant in the suit for not removing the reviews despite their allegedly violating the terms of the service. Additionally, the accused restaurant owner filed a counterclaim indicating that the other parties were harassing him and that negative reviews had been left about his business. He also believes that the other parties attempted to defame his business as well as coerce him into removing the online review.

Though competition between businesses can be fierce, some actions overstep boundaries and the confines of the law. As a result, business litigation may be necessary to address defamation and other actions that could harm a business. Florida company owners facing this type of issue may want to go over their legal options in hopes of protecting their company's best interests.

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