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Suing Over an Online Review

by Colin Rule
January 2012

Novo Justice Blog by Colin Rule

Colin Rule

Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal:

‘A Dallas law firm has filed a lawsuit seeking to learn the identity of a commenter calling himself “Ben” who posted a bad online review.

The Lenahan Law Firm claims defamation and seeks $50,000 in damages, Texas Lawyer reports. Partner Wes Black says the suit will allow the law firm to subpoena Google to learn the commenter’s identity.

Ben wrote in his comments on Google Review: "Bad experience with this firm. Don’t trust the fake reviews here.” Ben also gave a bad review to an Oregon cleaning company and may have intended to post the negative review about a different law firm closer to home, the suit (PDF) says.

Black tells Texas Lawyer the Lenahan Law Firm gets most of its clients from searches, and the bad review won’t help. "The issue isn’t trying to recover tons of money,” Black tells Texas Lawyer. “We just want the review down.”’

Biography


Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of Modria.com, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.



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Website: www.modria.com

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