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Dietz v. Perez

In this case, a contractor sued a woman who posted an unfavorable review of his services on Yelp and Angie’s List, alleging defamation in a number of respects, and sought a preliminary injunction. The trial judge denied the preliminary injunction in all respects save two, but ordered the defendant to revise one of the statements in her post, using words crafted by the judge, and to refrain from addressing a specific subject in any published review on the subject. Public Citizen then became involved to assist counsel for the defendant. In a petition for review in the Supreme Court of Virginia, we argued that the trial court had failed to abide by the rule against prior restraints, which forbids a preliminary injunction against repetition of allegedly libelous statements. Without waiting for an opposition brief, the Virginia Supreme Court reversed with a brief unpublished decision, finding that the preliminary injunction was not justified and that, in any event, the plaintiff had an adequate remedy at law.