More on the proposed class action lawsuit against Yelp we reported on earlier today, this time from Fat City's sister paper in Miami:
It's gonna be ugly.
|Beck & Lee|
a Harvard grad who plans on being the bulldog. The Miami lawyer --
who also practices in California, where the suit was filed -- reads the
paper, as you can tell from his Twitter account. Though he works in real estate (in Miami? shows he's smart), this is one nasty litigator.
Here's what he has to say:
case goes to the heart of Yelp's business practices. It is a very
popular website that has gained tremendous reach. The essence of our
lawsuit is unfair business practices. Some have called it extortion and
"Our client is a veterinary hospital in Long
Beach. They came with an issue that a number of
negative postings were there about them. Flat-out falsehoods. They
contacted Yelp directly. 'What can you do about these negative
reviews?' they asked. 'The content is completely false.'
response from Yelp was that, 'We can do this for you if you enter into
contract for $300 a month for 12 months. We can manipulate the content.
We can bury
them so the visitors won't see them.' They demonstrated this to our
client, who decided it was unethical and wanted no part of it.
"We looked into the situation further. We realized it wasn't a rogue sales rep, but a company-wide practice.
"We feel that filing this as a class action is the way to go. Since filing it, we
have been inundated with calls from around the country by people claiming the
same kind of conduct. We expect to be adding a number of other businesses to
that lawsuit as representatives. We have received dozens and dozens of calls.
when you go up against a well-capitalized firm like Yelp, you want to
bring as much manpower as possible to the plaintiff's side. That's why
we are getting involved with the California firm in this case. We think
they are going to get high-powered lawyers. We think you need to muster
all the troops you can get. My partner -- my wife -- and I are both on
the bar in Calfornia.
"We just got a case number in this case,
and the judge will probably schedule a conference soon. There is no
date for a hearing as of yet."