Q: Hi, Can I sue someone who took my company van picture at gas station and posted 1 star review on Yelp?
The guy took pictures of my van and the person who put gas on open air without mask keeping 6 feet distance. The person who took a picture posted it on my business yelp page and put 1 star review. I have all 5 star reviews. He is not my customer and he is just trying to ruin my business. Because of this review I will loose a lot of customers. Can I sue this guy? I got a picture of his car as well. He may be one of the competitors as well. Please advise me
A: A Texas judge once told me "You can sue a ham sandwich." The question is, what are you going to sue him for and how much are you going to seek? Proof is a big issue here, how do you prove you lost business because of this posting. I would think that you would want to contact Yelp first and ask them to take this review down. If Yelp does not take down a fraudulent review, perhaps you should also be suing Yelp. You need to contact a business litigation attorney in your area to discuss what claims you can bring against this individual and against Yelp.
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A: As Maurice said, you can sue anybody for anything. The question is whether you have a chance of winning. Here, the question is whether the reviewer said or implied anything false. If so, then depending on the specific circumstances, you may be able to sue for a court order forcing him to take down or change the posting, especially if he or she is a competitor.
It would be a lot harder to sue for money damages, which would require proof of financial harm. That's not impossible, but it's more expensive because you have to hire an expert witness to testify about the harm to your business. For most companies, it will be especially difficult to show that a downturn in business was related to a Yelp review if the downturn also happened during COVID.
Ultimately the question will be (as usual) whether the cost of a lawsuit is worth the benefit of getting the review taken down. Lawsuits are expensive. As Maurice said, asking Yelp to take the review down would be a much less expensive first step.
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