Can businesses that have been harassed online or given negative reviews sue?

Legal Moment on FRESH RADIO


[phone ringing]
Receptionist: Cohen Highley
Announcer: And now the Cohen Highley Legal Moment on Fresh Radio.
Announcer: I’m here with Stephanie Marentette-DiBattista from Cohen Highley Lawyers.  Can businesses that have been harassed online or given negative reviews sue?
Stephanie Marentette-DiBattista: It largely depends on the nature of the review.  If, for example, it’s a fair comment and honest review from a real customer with no ulterior motive then there is likely no legal remedy.
Announcer: However?
Stephanie Marentette-DiBattista: If the person giving the review has an ulterior motive such as a competitor, disgruntled ex-employee or even an ex-romantic partner who is actively trying to hurt your business with factually incorrect comments, the comments could constitute defamation and put the commenter at risk for litigation.
Announcer: Litigation?
Stephanie Marentette-DiBattista: Yes.  If the comments meet the legal test for defamation or harassment, for example, and business is able to show it has suffered damage such as lost revenue, lost customers or loss of reputation as a result, the business may have a legal remedy against individual posting the comments.
Announcer: Thanks Stephanie. This has been the Cohen Highley Legal Moment.
Singers: Cohen Highley, we’re listening.

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