By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A client of a Texas law firm was unhappy with the firm’s representation, and wrote a review on Yelp, saying: They will take everything you’ve got.
In response, the law firm sued him for defamation. That’ll show him how wrong he is about them.
In response, he plans to file a SLAPP suit – a strategic law against public participation suit – back at them. Huh?
While you have the right to freedom of speech, defamation – a false statement of fact that damages someone’s reputation – is not protected speech and you can be sued for it.
But stating your opinion – or a truthful statement of fact – is not defamation.
So if the target of your negative review knows it’s not defamation but threatens to sue you anyway, you can sue him back if you can show that he brought his lawsuit to silence you.
That said, while you do have the right to your opinion, and you can’t face a lawsuit brought to silence you, in general the writing of nasty, negative, and hurtful reviews can come back to haunt you as the Texas fellow found by requiring that you deal with lawyers to fight lawyers who were supposed to fight for you.