From The Washington Post

lawsuit filed by a D.C. contractor who is seeking $750,000 in damages from a woman whom he claims defamed his business in negative Yelp reviews is set to go to trial Monday in Fairfax County.

Christopher Dietz alleges a one-star review on the popular site and others were riddled with falsehoods and sent customers fleeing. Jane Perez stands by her claims that her home was damaged, she was billed for work that wasn’t done and jewelry went missing after she hired Dietz’s company to fix up her newly purchased Fairfax home.

She closed one post: “Bottom line do not put yourself through this nightmare of a contractor.”

The case is being closely watched by First Amendment advocates and businesses alike. First Amendment advocates say companies are increasingly turning to such tactics to stifle negative — but important — consumer information on review sites like Yelp.

Businesses say they are forced to take aggressive action because the Internet has allowed false claims to live on virtually forever and reach thousands of potential customers, doing untold harm.

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