BOSTON (Legal Newsline) – A Massachusetts dental clinic alleges Yelp "intentionally resurrected plaintiff's sole one-star review" after it declined to purchase advertising on the site.
Dr. Arian DiNapoli, doing business as Ari Family Dental, filed a complaint on April 30 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against Yelp Inc. alleging unfair and deceptive business practices and other counts.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Jan. 29, 2016, an individual left a one-star review on Yelp.com after the plaintiff refused to create a falsified tax receipt for a dental procedure.
"The review was so outrageous that even the defendant, Yelp Inc., categorized the review as 'unreliable' and 'not recommended,'" the suit states.
The plaintiff alleges that the defendant contacted him multiple times in an effort to sell advertising, which he declined. He alleges after declining a third time, the one-star review was changed to "reliable" and "recommended."
The suit states the defendant then sold the offered advertising space to his direct competitors within the community and continues to keep the negative review of the plaintiff's business on the website.
The plaintiff holds Yelp Inc. responsible because the defendant's actions allegedly caused his practice substantial damage, including lost profits and loss of clientele.
The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment for damages in an amount of no less than $373,687.50 with treble damages, and such further relief as principles of justice and equity require. He is represented by David C. Farrell of The Cohen Law Group in Boston.
U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts case number 1:18-cv-10776-FDS