Attorney Timothy G. Lynch Secures Order Requiring Yelp to Reveal the Author of a Defamatory Review

Share Article

Swartz & Lynch, LLP attorney helps client identify the anonymous author of an allegedly untruthful review.

My goal is to protect my clients against all types of injury, whether those injuries are to the body or a person’s reputation.

Attorney Timothy G. Lynch of the Boston law firm Swartz & Lynch, LLP has secured an order from a Boston municipal court ordering Yelp, the multinational corporation that publishes crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses, to disclose the identity of a user who left a defamatory online review.

Mr. Lynch represented a jewelry store whose business was the subject of allegedly defamatory statements posted online in a review. Yelp, Inc., based in San Francisco, typically protects its users and fights to keep their reviews anonymous.

The first challenge to this case was on jurisdictional grounds. Yelp argued that they do not do enough business in the commonwealth for a Massachusetts court to have jurisdiction. Mr. Lynch was able to demonstrate that Massachusetts had jurisdiction because Yelp does significant business there and because its reviews, which can be viewed by anyone with internet access, have significant impacts on Massachusetts businesses. Mr. Lynch next sought a court order to reveal the identity of the user in question, whose review allegedly consisted of implausible claims that had the potential to hurt the jewelry store’s business. Mr. Lynch successfully convinced the court that his client had a viable case against the reviewer, thus meeting the requirements that allowed the court to order Yelp to reveal the identity of the reviewer.

After the order was issued and the author’s identity was revealed, the user removed the post. Lynch’s client opted not to pursue a defamation suit against the individual.

“This case may make it easier to bring other internet-based companies before Massachusetts courts in the future and force them to reveal the names of anonymous users who commit tortious acts,” said Lynch. “My goal is to protect my clients against all types of injury, whether those injuries are to the body or a person’s reputation.”

The case is Pam Lerner Jewelry Inc. DBA Pageo and George Pelz v. Linda G. Doe, case number 2015-01-CV-1313, in the Boston Municipal Court's Central Division.

About Swartz & Lynch, LLP

Swartz & Lynch, LLP, located at 45 School Street, Old City Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108, is a personal injury law firm whose attorneys draw upon more than 75 combined years of experience in representing clients injured through auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, defective products or workplace incidents. They seek justice for families through wrongful death suits when loved ones have been killed in accidents caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another. The firm also represents individuals and businesses in defamation and libel actions. Throughout their considerable years of service, the firm’s attorneys have earned recognition in Boston and the surrounding communities for their effective, compassionate, and skilled representation. For more information, visit the firm’s website or call 617-367-2882.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Timothy Lynch