Court Can't Order Review to be Changed
Towards the end of last year a row broke out on Yelp. The drama centered on a review left by the customer of a tradesman, which was rather negative in tone. In fact calling it negative is probably a bit mild, as the reviewer accused the tradesman of various criminal activity.
Which is a big thing. Ignoring the moral side of things for a minute, research has shown that reviews make a big difference to the success of a business, whilst it has also been shown that the first reviews you see heavily influence your opinion of the entity being reviewed.
So it's perhaps understandable that the tradesman decided to sue the reviewer for a hefty sum in a bid to get things rectified and his reputation repaired.
Sadly for him however, a Virgina Supreme Court judge has ruled that the ladies negative review cannot be edited by the court. This means that the review will stay in place until a final decision has been made.
“The reason I got involved is that a preliminary injunction was issued here,” Paul Allen Levy, said. Levy is representing defendant Jane Perez in the case.
“If plaintiffs think all they have to do to get something shut down about them is run to court and ask for it, a lot more are going to do that,” he added. “It shouldn’t be easy to shut down speech, it should be hard. The win in the Virginia Supreme Court restores that balance. Defamation law is to protect people who are being truly defamed.”
A lower court had initially ordered Perez to edit her comments on Yelp against Dietz in December. After a complaint was filed however the ruling was overturned in just two days.
It marks the latest chapter in the ongoing spat between that two that originated after Perez was unhappy with the work performed by Dietz and his company. It quickly escalated however when accusations of theft were made against Dietz.
Of course, with the research showing that when we see negative reviews it is incredibly difficult to change our minds, it seems even if Dietz does win he will lose in the court of public opinion.