Business of Law

Appeals court: Yelp must remove defamatory 3rd-party material about lawyer who won defamation case

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Yelp must take down third-party material about a lawyer who won a defamation verdict against a former client, a California appeals court has ruled.

Although the consumer review website had argued that it is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from being held accountable for a third-party post, the California Court of Appeal, First District, disagreed.

Yelp Inc., a non-party to the defamation suit by attorney Dawn Hassell against ex-client Ava Bird that resulted in a default judgment and $557,000 award, was nonetheless required to comply with a court order that mandated the takedown of material found to be defamatory, the appellate court said in a Tuesday opinion (PDF).

However, the appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court with directions to trim the takedown order “by limiting it to the specific defamatory statements that were listed on exhibit A of that judgment.”

Courthouse News has a story and a Technology & Marketing Law Blog post provides additional details.

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