A Michigan air conditioning company has sued a local woman for $25,000 after she left a negative Yelp review about the business.
North Wind Heating & Air Conditioning accused her of publishing “false and defamatory statements” about the company that have harmed its reputation and cost the company at least six customers per day.
A lawyer representing the woman said the company’s lawsuit was “a complete abuse of the court system.”
It’s far from the first time companies have pursued lawsuits to quash negative online reviews — many states have adopted legislation preventing such lawsuits, but Michigan isn’t one of them.
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An air conditioning company in Michigan is suing a local woman for $25,000 in damages after she left a bad Yelp review that the company says is defamatory.
Court records show that North Wind Heating & Air Conditioning filed its lawsuit against its former customer, Lisa Agostino, in July, just days after she posted the Yelp review. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for November 12.
North Wind’s complaint accuses Agostino of publishing “false and defamatory statements” about the company that have harmed its reputation and cost the company at least six customers per day.
Agostino’s attorney, Clarance Dass, told WXYZ that North Wind’s lawsuit was a “complete abuse of the court system,” and that his client has a First Amendment right to express her opinions on the internet.
“She believes she has the right to air grievances against companies that are publicly doing business,” Dass said. “If she takes down her post, she’s giving the company an opportunity to muzzle all of its other customers and their bad reviews. People need to know there are some companies that don’t do good jobs, and there are some companies that do do good jobs.”
It’s not the first time companies have tried to sue over negative online comments
Agostino’s review is not currently visible on the company’s Yelp page, but screenshots published by Detroit’s ABC affiliate WXYZ show that a user named Lisa A. left a one-star review in July accusing the company of “gouging” her on the price of a capacitor.
The review said North Wind charged her $100 for a new capacitor, but she said she later learned from Lowe’s staff members that she could purchase it for less money from them.
A response on Yelp from the company’s owner, Carrie Szajna, argued that Szajna had tried to explain over the phone …read more
Source:: Business Insider