Posting reviews online can carry legal risks

by Larry Emmott on October 26, 2012

in Internet,Social Media

This is from an associated press article:

So Dr. David McKee had an unusually aggressive response: He sued the son for defamation. The Duluth neurologist’s case has advanced to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is weighing whether the lawsuit should go to trial.“His reputation is at stake. He does not want to be a target for false and malicious remarks,”

via Posting reviews online can carry legal risks.

The tone of the article is that online reviewers need to be careful as they could be sued for simply expressing an opinion. A law school professor is quoted as saying, “The reality is that we bet our house every time that we post content online,” Goldman said. “It’s a lousy answer from a societal standpoint because we need people to share their experiences so vendors will be punished or rewarded as appropriate.”

Yeah but. The suit the article is based on has not been settled, there is no indication that the reviewer will be held liable and there is considerable indication that he made stuff up in order to make the doctor look bad.

Personally I have very conflicted feelings about the issue. One the one hand I believe that free speech is important and that consumers (patients) have every right to learn about poorly performing professionals.

On the other hand as professionals our reputation is a precious asset and we need to be able to protect ourselves from false and malicious comments.

As it stands now the system is heavily weighted against the professional and is fraught with abuse.

This suit is one of many that are making its way through the legal system. More, More, Even more.

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{ 1 comment }

Free Speech October 30, 2012 at 1:25 am

“. . . there is considerable indication that he made stuff up in order to make the doctor look bad . . . ”

Are there indications that the defendant made things up – other than the plaintiff and his lawyer saying so? The Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered the case to jury trial, but the only evidence they cited was that the doctor denied saying the things attributed to him. How will a jury decide if the doctor or the family members are truthful? Nobody else was in the room

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