Review site Yelp is no stranger to the court system; it has been sued many times by disgruntled small business owners upset over its business practices and authenticity of reviews. However, in an unusual turn of events, Yelp is the claimant this time around.
ABC News reported that the review site is suing a small law firm in San Diego, California, for allegedly posting fake reviews on its site.
In late August Yelp filed a lawsuit against McMillan Law Group, a bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm founded by attorney Julian McMillan. According to ABC News, the lawsuit states that employees of the San Diego law firm wrote fake positive reviews on the McMillan Law Group Yelp page.
Yelp is suing for supposed "breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, unfair competition, and false advertising." It is asking for more than $25,000.
However, McMillan denies the claims. He told ABC News that the lawsuit has "no merit," and that in fact Yelp's lawsuit against him was in response to the lawsuit he filed against Yelp.
McMillan sued Yelp in small claims court over an argument about advertising he had bought from Yelp. According to the McMillan Law Group website, the judge "likened them to the Mafia extorting protection money from small businesses." McMillan won, but Yelp appealed the case and the judge said it should go to arbitration.
But Yelp says its lawsuit against McMillan has nothing to do with the small claims court case. A Yelp spokeswoman told ABC News that the company is aggressively fighting business owners who try to deceive consumers by writing false reviews.
McMillan Law Group isn't the first company Yelp has sued for allegedly producing fake reviews. The review site has also sued BuyYelpReview.com, a company that provided businesses with fake reviews.