A Broward County couple is being sued for defamation of a daycare after posting negative reviews online. According to the defamation lawsuit filed by The Learning Experience, the couple wrote things like, “The Learning Experience- Sunrise is ill equipped to handle children with any type of special needs.” The lawsuit says the couple also wrote, “This school needs a complete overhaul in training and management.” Another comment mentioned in the lawsuit – “If you value your child’s life, do not allow them to attend this facility.”
Defamation lawsuits and threats of legal action are on the rise, according to Bob Jarvis, a law professor at the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University.
Jarvis said when it comes to online reviews, a consumer can typically feel free to share their opinion in reviews. However, he said when it comes to facts, they better be true.
“It has always been understood that you have a right to speak, you have to right to write, you have a right to let the world know what’s on your mind but again, if you do so in a way that’s defamatory, if you engage in libel or slander you can be held responsible,” Jarvis explained. “You will be expected at a trial to show that what you wrote either was not defamatory — that no person could think that that was in some way harming the reputation of the plaintiff — or that what you wrote did in fact harm the reputation, but it was true.”
Jarvis added that he believes there are things the consumer and the business should do should a problem or dispute arise.
“The first thing you have to do is take a deep breath and you ought to wait 24 hours,” Jarvis said. “The second thing you should do, of course, is go to the business and let them know because reputable businesses are interested in feedback and want customers to have a good experience.”
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