That was the first known instance of a Yelp user being sued for defamation, but not the last. This week, it emerged that a pediatric dentist in California, Yvonne Wong, has also sued over a negative Yelp write-up.
The reviewers, Tai Jing and Jia Ma, complained that their son was "light-headed" from laughing gas and that he received a filling containing mercury, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Wong's lawyer, John Terbeek, told the Chronicle that the parents had signed a consent form disclosing the use of mercury.
If so, it's not clear why the statements would be libelous. On the contrary, the statements would appear to have been true, based on the report in the Chronicle. Another lawyer representing Wong told MediaPost that she did not use mercury in the fillings. Regardless, the original statement still doesn't seem defamatory -- not when the American Dental Association says mercury in fillings is safe.
Regardless of the merits of Wong's claim, filing the lawsuit doesn't seem to have helped her reputation -- at least not among Yelp users, who have taken her to task for suing an ex-patient. "I would choose a dentist which I feel comfortable and without the fear of getting sued if I share my after visit comments and personal experience with friends," wrote one.
"To sue your customer is overreacting. If there is no smoke, how can there be fire," chimed in another.
"I have first hand experience with this dentist, and believe me, do not go to her. That is unless you want to get sued for giving her a bad review," offered a third.