Outlook 2014: Untruthful posts to consumer review websites could result in lawsuits

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Q. Are customer comments posted on consumer review websites protected speech under the First Amendment or are individuals who post opinions potentially subjecting themselves to a libel lawsuit?

A. While the First Amendment protects us from the limitation of our right to free speech by the government, it doesn’t protect us from the consequences of false speech through a libel or defamation action. While anyone is free to publish a negative review, they should be prepared to establish that the review is truthful. Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation action.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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