California Supreme Court Decides That Yelp Is Not Required to Remove Defamatory Review

In follow up to my post here on November 2, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion on July 2, 2018, reversing the lower court’s decision that required Yelp to remove three defamatory statements posted on Yelp by Ava Bird as sought by Bird’s former lawyer, the Hassell Law Group, in its lawsuit against Bird in Hassell v. Bird.  Yelp was not a party to the suit.  The Court ruled that Yelp is not required to remove such reviews, even if they were false, as it has immunity under under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which in relevant part provides: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (§ 230(c)(1)), and “No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section” ( 47 § 230(e)(3)).  The Court ruled that the Act not only applies to a “cause of action” where liability may be imposed, but also applies to the seeking of injunctive relief (here, the request by Hassell for the court to order Yelp to takedown the offending material).

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About Craig McLaughlin

I am an intellectual property attorney and trial lawyer with an office in Southern California. I enjoy representing clients and also enjoy flyfishing, skiing, golf, writing this blog and photography (see blog header). My website is: http://www.smartpropertylaw.com
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