You should speak with a Personal Injury Attorney immediately. Here are the basics on Defamation:
Defamation is a false statement of fact against an individual’s character or reputation, either intentionally or negligently published to a third person, holding the defamed person up to ridicule, contempt, hatred, shame, or disgrace. There are two types of defamation: Slander and Libel. Slander is an untrue spoken statement about a person that harms their reputation and standing in their community. A person injured by slander can bring a civil lawsuit against the party that made the false statement.
Where a person is defamed in writing, it is called libel. Libel also includes television broadcasts. In many ways libel is more serious because it is more likely to reach a far greater audience. In New York a libeled person’s damages are presumed because the defamatory statement is preserved for a greater period of time.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations for defamation is different in each state. A statute of limitations is the time that a civil or criminal action must be brought forward. The limitations period begins when a defamatory statement is communicated to someone other than the plaintiff. For instance, in New York, New Jersey, and California the statute of limitations is one year. However, in Washington and Indiana it is two years. Because the time to bring an action defamation is shorter than a negligence action, it is imperative that a person who believes they have been defamed speak with an attorney immediately.
I assisted my brother in writing several articles on this topic. Two of them are listed below:
I wish you the best of luck.
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Legal Disclaimer: 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.
Written comments that are untrue are libel. If you can prove the falsity, you can go after the person that posted the libel. You may have a case against YELP as well and should seek competent legal advice from an attorney specializing in this area of law as soon as possible so you do not run afoul of any applicable statute of limitations which would bar your case.
This message is informational only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
You can subpoena the IP address and records to confirm the identity. If residential IP address, go after their homeowner's policy. An AVVO lawyer in your city should be able to assist you.
A comment posted online that is damaging to another person's reputation is considered as libel, not slander. Generally, libel cases are filed against the person or entity who made the defamation so you can sue the YELP member who posted that comment and recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Given that you're not paying YELP for their services and that they themselves did not make the defamation, they may not be held liable for libel but, since they've refused to remove the comment or take your website off the list, they may be held accountable for the damages your business has suffered because of their negligence. I would suggest you seek that advice of a California personal injury attorney if you want to pursue a case.