Lenahan Law Firm of Dallas has sued an anonymous "Ben Doe" defendant over a negative review. They want the faceless reviewer to pony up $50,000 in damages.
The review blasted the law firm with harsh comments. Ben Doe wrote he had a "bad experience" with the firm.
The Internet is useful. Reviewers can easily hide behind usernames and pseudonyms and blast companies, restaurants, and now even law firms. But Mr. Doe may have forgotten something important. You don't necessarily want to anger a group of attorneys. They might -- and often will -- sue you.
After all, they have the requisite legal expertise and staff.
Though strangely enough, despite the lawsuit even Lenahan acknowledges it may be a case of mistaken identity.
The firm did some digging. They found that Doe also reviewed a small cleaning service in Oregon. This tends to indicate that he lives in Oregon... not Texas. If that's the case it's all-too-possible that he mistakenly reviewed the wrong firm.
Of course, the attorneys at Lenahan Law Firm still don't know who this Ben Doe guy is. That's why the firm will need to do some discovery. The firm noted it will serve a subpoena on Google to unmask the reviewer.
The tech giant hasn't exactly been cooperative. The firm initially tried to get the search engine to remove Doe's comments. But the review remains on the Internet.
Lenahan Law Firm isn't the first to sue over a negative review. And it certainly won't be the last. Yet maybe filing a lawsuit isn't the best idea. It seems it may only further alienate a disgruntled former client and draw more attention to a bad review.
- Dallas Law Firm Sues Anonymous 'Ben Doe' over Bad Online Review (ABA Journal)
- Attorney Sues Client Over Bad Internet Review (FindLaw's Strategist)
- When Should You Sue a Customer for Defamation? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- How to Avoid Being Defamed By Your Customers (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)