The advent of the internet and review sites often give vent to frequently vicious and far over-reaching complaints against professionals.   Sometimes they are deserved, sometimes they are sour grapes, but according to the law, they must be true.

Recently, an attorney’s client was charged $350,000 for vicious online reviews against his attorney in a separation case.  The client accused the attorney of greed and assorted unethical practices, and was appropriately sued for libel, successfully.

The clients of the attorney argued First Amendment, Freedom of Speech in court.  The Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected the couple’s claims of First Amendment free-speech protection for reviews of professional services posted on the Internet and upheld the trial court’s finding that the posts included false and libelous allegations. The court affirmed $350,000 in punitive damages against the couple.

Online reviews are a great place to help other consumers know the good, and the bad, about people that you have worked with.  Be cautioned though, online reviews are no place to start a libelous war, everything you say should be true and fair.

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