In Yelp review lawsuit, defamation is all around—so everyone loses

A scathing Yelp review and accusatory reaction posts in the comments—Virginia homeowner Jane Perez and local contractor Chris Dietz were playing the online reputation game for keeps. Initially, Dietz’s work led to Perez’s review, which resulted in Dietz’s lawsuit for defamation. And as Ars previously reported, it was a complicated manner. In December 2012, a lower court ruled that Perez was required to edit her harsh comments on Yelp and Angie’s List against Dietz and his company, Dietz Development. But then Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a 21-page petition for review to the Supreme Court of Virginia later that month, and the highest state court overturned the injunction just two days later.

Now, a year later, the case finally played out in front of a jury trial. As The Washington Post reports, a Fairfax County jury took five days at trial and eight hours in deliberation to decide that, yes, Perez had defamed Dietz with her review. However, Dietz’s responses to the post in the comment thread defamed Perez as well. So accordingly, no one will receive damages.

“I’m kind of shocked,” Dietz said following the verdict according to the Post. The paper reports that Dietz felt vindicated, but Perez oddly left happy as well. “I think freedom of speech won in this case, and that’s a good message to send,” Perez said according to the paper.

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via Ars Technica


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