Student Gets Sued Over Negative Yelp Review – What the Company Could Have Done Differently
The whole story started when 20-year old, Lan Cai was in a car crash last summer. She was driving back home after her job waitressing at 1:30am and was rammed into by a drunk driver. The physical injuries she incurred were two broken bones in her lower back. Since Cai did not have previous experience on what to do after situations like this, she hired a law office to help her out.
As soon as she started dealing with the firm, she was not satisfied with the way they treated her as a customer. Any time Cai would try to contact them, her calls would go unanswered until one day they showed up at her house without her knowledge. This can be very unprofessional especially if the client is not ready to have people over. That was the last straw for Cai so she wrote about her experiences with the firm on Facebook and Yelp.
It was after those negative reviews that Cai received a menacing e-mail from one of the lawyers, Keith Nguyen. The underlying message was giving Cai one of two options. She could either remove the reviews and continue with her original case or not remove the reviews and be taken to court. Since she did not take down the reviews, Nguyen and his coworkers went forward with the lawsuit. The demands were for $100,000 to $200,000 in damages. Keep in mind that Cai is only a student and does not have that kind of money in her bank account. All the money she would make at her job would go towards funding her tuition in nursing.
When Nguyen was contacted regarding this case, he said he did not feel bad at all for Cai. He said he gave her plenty of chances to get the posts taken down from those sites. Apparently she was boasting to everyone that the comments were on there and did not feel bad for the law firm at all. Reviews like these can significantly reduce new business. Once people see comments like the one Cai wrote, it can be devastating for companies. They might even lose so much potential sales; they would have to close shop.
Instead of giving in to the demands of the law firm, Cai fought back with an attorney who accepted her case pro bono. Because what she wrote on Facebook and Yelp was true, neither she or anyone else should have to take it down. In addition, the firm already had multiple bad reviews. And finally Cai’s attorney argued that the lawsuit was a SLAPP, which stands for strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.
In the end, the judge sided with Cai making the firm pay $26,831.55 in attorney’s fees. This case will go down in time as any company tries to limit the US customers’ right to say what is on their mind.
What could the lawyers have done differently?
Instead of taking an unethical route and threatening their client, they could have considered contacting Removing Reviews. It would have cost them far less than the time, effort, and $26,831.55 in attorney fees. Removing Reviews is dedicated to helping companies restore their online reputations by permanently removing negative reviews from Yelp. Among the reviews Removing Reviews have and continue to take down, Nguyen’s case is one we could have handled. Our process is one that keeps everybody honest and free of unethical or illegal behaviour. So, whether Cai was telling the truth or not, it wouldn’t have been a problem given the lawyers knew about Removing Reviews. Contact us today for a free quote to get your negative review(s) removed from Yelp!