Request for Help: Doctor v. Patient Lawsuits Over Online Reviews

By Eric Goldman

I’m doing some research, and I’m hoping you can help. I’m trying to comprehensively catalog doctor vs. patient lawsuits over online reviews of the doctor. I’m equally interested in suits by other health care professionals; I’ve noticed dentists are surprisingly litigious. I’ve included lawsuits against intermediate publishers where the underlying litigation involves a patient review. I’ve also included suits where the review author was a family member of the patient, but I’m excluding other posts by non-patients.

Here’s the list I’ve developed so far:

* Nevyas v. Morgan, 309 F. Supp. 2d 673 (E.D. Pa. 2004)

* Bosley Medical Institute, Inc. v. Kremer, 403 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2005)

* Barrett v. Rosenthal, 146 P.3d 510 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 2006)

* Gilbert v. Sykes, 53 Cal. Rptr. 3d 752 (Cal. App. Ct. 2007)

* Alvi Armani Medical, Inc. v. Hennessey, 629 F. Supp. 2d 1302 (S.D. Fla. 2008)

* Biegel v. Norberg, San Francisco Superior Ct. case # CGC-08-472522 (filed Feb. 25, 2008)

* Kim v. IAC/InterActive Corp., 2008 WL 3906427 (Cal. App. Ct. 2008)

* Reit v. Yelp, Inc., 29 Misc.3d 713 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010)

* Wong v. Jing, 189 Cal. App. 4th 1354 (Cal. App. Ct. 2010)

* Rahbar v. Batoon, San Francisco Superior Ct., case # CGC-09-492145 (filed Sept. 2, 2009) and case # CGC-10-502884 (filed August 20, 2010)

* McKee v. Laurion Case # 69-DU-CV-10-1706 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Apr. 28, 2011)

* Lynch v. Christie, Slip Copy, 2011 WL 3920154 (D. Me. Sept. 7, 2011)

* Pensler v. Hostetler, 10 CH 35876 (filed 8/19/10); Pensler v. Cuevas, 10 CH 35238 (filed 8/16/10); and Pensler v. Bender, 09 CH 18628 (filed 6/10/09) (all in Cook County Court)

* Henry v. Does 1-100, CIV095020; plus the apparently related Henry v. Carson, CIV1002670, and Henry v. Tamara M., CIV1003042 (all in Marin Superior Court)

Three other cases that are close but factually distinguishable:

* Townson v. Liming, 2010 WL 2767984 (Tex. App. Ct. 2010)

* Lifestyle Lift Holding Co. Inc. v. Prendiville, 768 F. Supp. 2d 929 (E.D. Mich. 2011)

* Darm v. Craig, Case 1107-08823, Oregon Circuit Court

Please email me if you have any suggestions of other cases I should check out.