Recently, a woman who left a scathing review on Google has been ordered to pay $750,000.00 in damages for the financial and emotional damage caused by her public comments.
In this case, the “keyboard warrior” intentionally targeted the complainant under multiple aliases. The claimant was also able to show a direct link between the review, a loss of clients and reputational damage.
While this case highlights the potential severe consequences of negative online reviews, it does not mean that all unfavourable reviews can be subject to a defamation claim. An honest and genuine opinion, even if a negative one, is not always going to be defamatory. Also, even if a statement is defamatory, there needs to be a direct link between those comments and any loss or damage said to have been suffered.
However, it is a timely reminder that ‘keyboard warriors’ need to beware – the consequences of a few clicks can be severe and costly.
If you have been impacted by a defamatory review, or if you have been accused of defamation based on a review you have left online, please contact a member of our dispute resolution team to discuss your options.