Sample Law Essay Paper on Reit v. Yelp!, Inc.

Reit v. Yelp!, Inc.

Facts

Reit alleged that a defamatory act has been committed against him and his practice as a dentist by Michael S. This is through as a website that is designed to allow people to interact by posting, writing, and viewing business reviews, including professional businesses. Yelp has been soliciting and selling advertising on the web page.

In the month of May 2009, Yelp had a page in the website that referenced ten positive reviews on the practice of Reit. In the same month, the defendant, Michael posted another review. However, the review was considered defamatory on the practice of Reit by the plaintiff. The defamatory statements included that Reit’s office was old, small, and smelly. It also contained some information claiming that Reit’s equipment was old and dirty. According to Reit, this post seriously affected his business as the number of clients per day dropped from between 10 and 15 to between 4 and 5.

Yelp declined to remove the post after Reit contacted them. According to the claims by Reit, Yelp instead removed the earlier positive posts about Reit on their page. Reit perceived this act as a business model that Yelp uses to coerce professionals and businesses to pay for advertising on Yelp’s website.

Procedural History

 Yelp’s motion as the defendant to dismiss the complaint that was facing it was granted. The clerk was therefore asked to enter the judgment accordingly, with the disbursements and the costs as taxed. The clerk was also directed to continue with the claims that faced Michael.

Issue

 On one account, Reit had a defamation claim. He claimed that Yelp had defamed his reputation by selectively removing positive reviews of his practice. This was after Reit complained to the defendant about some negative reviews. On another account, the plaintiff claimed against the deceptive acts of the defendant. Reit claimed that according to Yelp if a business signed up for advertising with them, then an automated system was used to screen out reviews written by les established users.

Holding

  The court ordered the granting of Yelp’s motion and the action also to be dismissed.

Reasoning

 The defamatory content that Yelp posted on its website was supplied by a third party. The information comprised of a message posting from the third party. The use of bad posts by Yelp in its marketing strategy does not alter the nature of the data that was posted by the third party. It is the role of a publisher to select the posts it maintains. Yelp is not an internet content provider and hence Reit’s claims were considered barred.

Thoughts

There is a feeling that Reit’s reputation was negatively affected as this had a negative impact on his professionalism. However, the rule of law had to be upheld. On the other hand, I don’t see any reason for Yelp having to remove the positive claims on Reit. Should it be their model of business, then an action of law needed to be taken against them for their selfish interests. There is a need for all firms to respect other firms and hence a need for Yelp to avoid ruining Reit’s reputation. From my point of view, there is some form of defamation and Reit did not receive justice from the court. It was though fair for Reit as Yelp did not file a case against Reit for the losses he suffered from the case.

Work Cited

Reit v. Yelp!, Inc., 29 Misc. 3d 713-NY: Supreme Court 2010—Communications Decency Act http://www.courts.state.ny.us/Reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_20362.htm