I am a Michigan licensed attorney and frequently represent businesses and individuals on internet legal issues similar to your situation. Generally speaking, these issues relate to defamation and business disparagement. You may have a number of options to pursue legal claims that entitle your business to damages, as well as removing the comments. However, to fully evaluate what options and remedies you may have, you would need to meet with an attorney and to provide the actual content making up the postings. You did the smart thing in making copies of the postings and make sure you go over those postings with an attorney. I hope this helps.
I'm licensed to practice law in Michigan (www.shinnlegal.com) and I primarly focus on employment law and litigation. My office is located in Keego Harbor, MI. My response is provided only to educate the public about general issues that should be discussed with competent legal counsel in your state. Under no circumstances should you consider my response as a substitute for consulting an attorney in order to fully understand how the law may apply to your specific and unique circumstances.
I wish I could say that I was not getting calls about this all the time, but I can't. Companys attempt to damage their competitor's businesses with false business reviews on websites/gripe sites like Google+ and Yelp all the time. Usually they are less brazen and attempt to hide behind the annonymity of the internet. Fortunately, at least in New York, there are legal ways to unmask the defamers.
First you will want to send an email or letter to the web host of the defamatory statement explaining that the person is a competitor attempting to damage your businesss and demand that it be removed. If that fails you will need to identify who wrote the review. If they wrote the review annonymously you will need to move for pre-action disclosure. Once you identify the person who wrote the defamatory business review you can file a lawsuit for defamation, as well as other business torts.
Contact a local attorney who handles these types of cases. Avvo has a great "Find a Lawyer" tool.
If this Answer was of assistance please mark it as "helpful." Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.
Sounds as if you have possible proof of a foolish damaging disparagement by a competitor. You should see a Michigan, attorney like Attorney Shinn, to review the posting. There may be free speech issues, but if this is a competitor and not a customer you should have legal avenues to redress this is the competitor is solvent.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.