Earlier this month, Bob Ambrogi reported in his LawSites blog on a case in which a law firm that sued a client over a negative review had its lawsuit dismissed and had to pay the defendant's attorneys' fees of nearly $27,000.
Twenty-year-old Texas waitress Lan Cai was dressed only in her underwear and half asleep in her bed when her auto-accident lawyers from Houston's Tuan A. Khuu & Associates came walking into her bedroom. Never a good idea.
Cai had been in a serious car accident. After this incident, she complained about the firm on Facebook and wrote a negative review on Yelp. She called the firm "super unprofessional", "very pushy" and said she couldn't get basic information from them.
Keith Nguyen, an attorney with the firm, sent Cai an e-mail after viewing the post threatening suit if she didn't remove it. When she didn't remove it, the firm sued for defamation, seeking damages of $200,000.
Fortunately for Cai, Houston attorney Michael Fleming saw the suit as "a bully's attempt to silence unfavorable criticism on the Internet." He took her case pro bono and filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that her statements were truthful and that the lawsuit should be thrown out under the Texas anti-SLAPP law. The judge agreed and entered an order dismissing the suit on November 21st.
The moral of the story is: When you sue your client over a negative review, nothing good is likely to come of it.
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