Critical online reviews can carry leg...

Critical online reviews can carry legal risks

There are 24 comments on the Ventura County Star story from Oct 27, 2012, titled Critical online reviews can carry legal risks. In it, Ventura County Star reports that:

Marshall Tanick is the attorney for Dr. David McKee, who sued a patient's son for defamation after critical remarks about McKee were posted on some rate-your-doctor websites.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Ventura County Star.

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Capital Eh

Edmonton, Canada

#29 Jul 28, 2014
So far as I know Professor Sally Vogl-Bauer still has tenure at University of Wisconsin, and Dr. David McKee still works for Northland Neurology and Myology, still works for Integrity Health Network, and still sees patients at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth MN.

The Texas teacher probably has a tangible claim for damages. Elizabeth Ethredge got fired according to http://www.texednews.com/2013/38/Ethredge_v_W... .
Content Scraper

Miami, FL

#32 Aug 17, 2014
This Oregon case is similar to your Minnesota case, but Oregon has a stronger anti-SLAPP law.

"A Portland dentist is suing a former patient for what the dentist claims are defamatory reviews in online forums."

By Sam Stites, Willamette Week

Dr. Mo Saleh, of Dental Dynamics, originally filed suit against Spencer Bailey in Multnomah Circuit Court on June 26 seeking $300,000 after Bailey wrote about Saleh’s dental skills on Yelp, DoctorOogle.com and Google. In his lawsuit, Saleh says Bailey posts caused damage to his reputation, loss of profits and emotional distress.

The reviews cited in the complaint include statements saying Bailey implied ”improper and insufficient dental services by Dr. Saleh.” The complaint further alleges that Bailey wrote,“if Dr. Saleh tells you that you have a cavity — GET A SECOND OPINION.”

According to the complaint. Bailey said he had never had a cavity in 32 years until Saleh found several. Bailey’s lawyers have responded by stating that Bailey went to Saleh for dental work and then went to another dentist after experiencing pain. They claim that the other dentist advised Bailey that some of the fillings were unnecessary and some were poorly put in.

Bailey’s attorneys, Jeremiah Ross and Linda Williams, also claimed that Saleh contacted Bailey after he reviewed the dentist on various web sites, threatening him to remove them. They say Bailey removed the postings out of concern for his and his family’s safety. Even though Bailey removed the postings, Saleh is proceeding with his suit.(Saleh’s lawyer declined to comment.)

As online commentary about all manner of topics has exploded, so too has the number of lawsuits unhappy targets have filed about such commentary. Saleh’s suit falls under what lawyers call a practice of Strategic Law Against Public Participation or SLAPP. SLAPP cases take aim at people making statements or publishing information that could be damaging to the plaintiff. Critics say these suits are sometimes little more than attempt to censor, silence and in intimidate the defendant.

Earlier this month Bailey’s attornies filed a motion to strike Saleh’s lawsuit under the anti-SLAPP statute, declaring that Bailey’s online reviews are free speech in a public forum. "Spencer's review was a protected opinion and the Plaintiff cannot prove their allegations," Ross, Bailey’s co-counsel tells WW via email. "Nor can they prove $300,000 in damages for a post that was up for three weeks."

A judge will hear the anti-SLAPP motion on Sept. 5.

http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-29111-port...
Court Watch

San Jose, CA

#33 Aug 25, 2014
IS A SETTLEMENT IN THE WORKS FOR VOGL-BAUER V. LLEWELLYN?

Anthony Llewellyn now has three lawyers, Andrew Price, Kate E. Maternowski, and Laura Brenner . Jury trial is still scheduled for SEP 15 - SEP 17, 2014, in the Walworth County Judicial Center Courtroom of the Honorable Phillip A Koss; however, it is hard to find any of Anthony Llewellyn's videos online. IS HE TAKING THE VIDEOS DOWN?

Sally Vogl-Bauer apparently had her pre-trial hearing AUG 20, 2014. It is no longer listed on the pending court docket.

Visit http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl . Click agree.

On next page enter name = Llewellyn,

County = Walworth,

Case Number = 2013CV001140.

You'll see suit history and public data about Sally Vogl-Bauer and Anthony Llewellyn.
Dennis

Torrance, CA

#34 Jun 18, 2015
In response to a newspaper article about David McKee MD V. Dennis Laurion, Dr. McKee, founder of Northland Neurology and practitioner at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, said that money is money, and he wouldn't remember the impact in five years. I wrote my review of Dr. David McKee five years ago. I can't speak for Dr. McKee, but I still remember the impact.
This entire experience has been distressing to my family. We were initially shocked and blindsided by “jocular” comments made so soon after my father’s stroke by somebody who didn’t know us. We were overwhelmed by my being sued after posting a consumer opinion, and we were shocked by the rapidity with which it happened.
What it’s like for a patient or family member to be caught up in a case like McKee V. Laurion was already described by the plaintiff’s lawyer in a Star Tribune newspaper article,“Company sues over info put on Yahoo message board,” August 27, 2001, and repeated in http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/08/... . It said in part:“IF A COMPANY SUES, alleging simple business disparagement or perhaps defamation, ITS GOAL ISN’T NECESSARILY TO WIN,” SAID MARSHALL TANICK, a First Amendment expert at Mansfield & Tanick in Minneapolis.“THE STRATEGY IS TO FORCE THE OTHER PERSON TO INCUR HUGE LEGAL EXPENSES THAT WILL DETER THEM AND OTHERS from making such statements,” he said …“yet very few (cases) go all the way to trial and verdict,” Tanick said.[ Emphasis added ]
The plaintiff’s first contact with me was a letter that said in part that he had the means and motivation to pursue me. The financial impact of being sued three years to date has been burdensome, a game of financial attrition that I haven’t wanted to play. The suit cost me the equivalent of two year’s net income - the same as 48 of my car payments plus 48 of my house payments. My family members had to dip into retirement funds to help me.
It was not my intention to use any descriptions or conclusions. It was also not my intention to claim that I had proof. Only my family and the doctor were in the room. My intention was to portray my recollection of what happened in my father’s room. The public could decide what to believe and what - if any - impact it had on them: insensitive doctor or overly-sensitive consumer?
Medical peer newsletters or magazines that interviewed the plaintiff did not approach me. Websites maintained by doctors for doctors or lawyers for lawyers often caused an inference that I was a zealot family member or somebody who had asked about my dad’s chances and then shot the messenger. Generally, however, those websites echoed other websites in advising public relations responses other than a lawsuit - for fear of creating the “Streisand Effect.” As a retired layman, I brought far less resources to the battle of financial attrition.
The Minnesota Supreme Court compared every statement I attributed to Dr. David McKee against every statement he claimed he really said. The Court concluded the impact of each set of statements was the same. For instance, the Minnesota high court said that Dr. David McKee’s version of his comment about the intensive care unit was substantially similar to mine.
During the existence of David McKee MD vs Dennis Laurion, I heard Dr. McKee's lawyer tell the Minnesota Supreme Court how I could have commented without being defamatory. I am upset. I think Doctor McKee did not treat my father well. I think he was insensitive. He did not spend enough time in my opinion.

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