Yelp Gets Protection for Defamatory Posts

A divided California Supreme Court has ruled that online review site cannot be ordered to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm that a judge determined were defamatory.

The 4-3 ruling on Monday came in a closely watched case that internet companies warned could be used to silence online speech.

A San Francisco judge determined the posts against attorney Dawn Hassell’s firm were defamatory and ordered Yelp in 2014 to remove them. A second judge and a state appeals court upheld the decision. urged the state Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, saying it could lead to the removal of negative reviews on the popular website.

Hassell said Yelp was exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort.

An attorney for Hassell did not immediately have comment.

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