Dec. 28, 2012

Public Citizen Takes on Free Speech Case Involving Yelp Review

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, filed an appeal today to end an injunction against a woman who is being sued by someone she made negative comments about on the Internet review site Yelp, saying that the injunction violates the First Amendment.

The appeal is in response to an earlier ruling by a Fairfax County Judge that said Jane Perez had to remove parts of a negative review she made against a contractor called Dietz Development and its owner, Christopher Dietz.  She was also barred from saying anything about the subject of one of her complaints  in any other review. Public Citizen argues that the consequences for the contractor have not been fully examined, and thus forcing Perez to remove her comments equates to censorship.

“Without resolving the specifics of what Jane Perez said about Christopher Dietz, it’s too easy for plaintiffs to go into court and ask for an injunction to shut up public discussion,” said Paul Alan Levy, an attorney for Public Citizen. “Any court order about the contents of the speech ought to await the jury’s verdict.”

For materials relating to the appeal, please visit https://www.citizen.org/litigation/forms/cases/getlinkforcase.cfm?cID=794.