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Yelp back in court, only this time to defend anonymous reviewer

(Social Media) Yelp heads back to court over an angry real estate firm demanding a negative reviewer be unmasked and the review be removed. Yelp appears to be digging in their heels.

yelp lawsuit

yelp lawsuit

Yelp lawyering up for an interesting fight

Do you remember that time you asked for no onions at that diner in Des Moines and your burger was piled to the ceiling with them anyway? And then afterwards, when you made a point to leave them a nasty Yelp review, warning other patrons passing through the area to hit Arby’s instead? Well, that diner remembers. And it might seek legal recompense, short of your head on a pike.
A Yelp user who left a strongly worded and unmistakably negative review of an agent belonging to a real estate firm in Texas could be in danger of being unmasked.

More than a year after the review was posted, the firm filed suit. Apparently, it had done some real damage. The firm’s lawyer called the review defamatory and inaccurate, demanding its removal from Yelp, along with the disclosure of the true identity of the accuser.

Now, part of Yelp’s appeal is that it bears people’s genuine opinions regarding firsthand experiences with businesses and services. If this user, “Lin,” is speaking the truth, the people of the internet have a right to know.

Yelp dug in their heels, wouldn’t remove review

Yelp maintained that the review didn’t break any of their rules or standards, so they wouldn’t remove it from the site. In addition, they chose to defend Lin’s anonymity unless a valid subpoena was presented.

Well, the firm heard that and cooked up a subpoena, but they made a substantial error: Why would a Texas court case concerning documents located in California call for a subpoena served in Delaware? Someone needs to buy these guys a map.

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And then, Yelp objected

Yelp objected the subpoena on the aforementioned grounds, also stating that the firm hasn’t exactly presented “proof of compelling interest,” which is constitutionally necessary to crack the stone wall of anonymity. Additionally, the lawsuit was filed a full 17 months after the comment was made, which noticeably overreaches the 12-month limitations for issues like these in Texas courts. If we’re getting the firm gifts, maybe they might like a calendar, too.

Issues like this probably make internet trolls shake in their boots. Or sandals. Or whatever trolls wear on their feet. Don’t worry, though, keyboard warriors. It looks like Yelp is fighting the good fight, at least from where you’re sitting.

Written By

Staff Writer, Johnny Crowder, is a hard working creative with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a deep passion for writing. In his other life, he is the front man for signed metal band, Dark Sermon. He has a wicked sense of humor and might literally die if he goes a day without putting pen to paper.



  1. NathyRodz

    February 23, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Glad to see that Yelp is defending it’s users from a reviewer who may have given a completely truthful and honest review. Why didn’t this real estate firm just respond to the review? I don’t understand why businesses are so hostile against Yelp and not the other review sites? If it’s a lack of reviews posted on yelp they can put that ‘Review us on Yelp’ sign up in their business or use a solution like or demandforce to generate more reviews. Businesses like this need to stop dragging everyone into court and get with the new digital age.

  2. Yelp Lawsuits

    March 19, 2015 at 4:26 am

    Kimzey v. Yelp Inc. – Opening Brief
    ( see Google search )
    Extortion – Libel – False Reviews

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