Yelp cannot be ordered to remove defamatory posts against a San Francisco law firm, the California Supreme Court said in a 4-3 ruling Monday that overturns one made by a lower court. From a report: In a 4-3 opinion, justices agreed, saying removal orders such as the one attorney Dawn Hassell obtained against Yelp “could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform.” The decision overturned a lower court ruling that Yelp had said could lead to the removal of negative reviews from the popular website. Hassell said Yelp was exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort. Her attorney, Monique Olivier, said in a statement that the ruling “stands as an invitation to spread falsehoods on the internet without consequence.” She said her client was considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hassell’s 2013 lawsuit accused a client she briefly represented in a personal injury case of defaming her on Yelp by falsely claiming that her firm failed to communicate with the client, among other things.
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