Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oregon Judge 'SLAPPs" Lawyer; Let's Out a Yelp

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
In Daniel Bernath v. Tabitha J. & Yelp, Inc. (Case No. 1305-06167), Multnomah County (Ore.) Circuit Court Judge Henry Kantor last week granted Internet Service Provider Yelp!'s Motion to Strike a defamation lawsuit brought by an attorney irate over a client's negative review of his legal services.

A Eugene, Oregon, resident identified as Tabitha J. was sued by Bernath after her negative Yelp! post. Judge Kantor, noting that the review involved a matter of public interest, ruled that Yelp! was shielded from liability both by Oregon's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute [ORS 31.150] and Sec. 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act.

Dentists, realtors and restaurateurs stung by negative Yelp! postings are among those who have sought recourse in court (See, e.g., "TUOL" posts 4/24/13 & 2/11/13), usually, unsuccessfully because of the CDA protection accorded ISPs in Sec. 230(c): "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Tip of the hat to (blogericgoldman.org) Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing Blog for following the case.

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