Hassell v. Bird (Yelp)

Court Orders Yelp to Remove Defendant’s Defamatory Statement from its Website


In Hassell v. Bird (Yelp, Inc.), a California appellate court recently upheld an order requiring Yelp to remove a defamatory statement from its website.  In Hassell, plaintiff was an attorney who sued a former client seeking to remove a Yelp review that had been posted and contained falsehoods.  The trial court found the client liable for defamation and issued an injunction ordering her to remove the defamatory reviews.  The order also required Yelp to remove the reviews from its website.  Yelp, which was not a party to the action, filed a motion to vacate the judgment, which the trial court denied.  Yelp appealed, arguing that the order violated its due process rights because it was not a party to the underlying action.  Yelp also argued it was an unconstitutional restraint on speech.  The court of appeals affirmed, holding the remove order was lawful.


Shannon B. Jones, Partner, sbj@sbj-law.com