Texas Court Reverses $1.2 Million Libel Decision Based on Yelp Review Complaining About Earlier Unpaid Judgment
From Gharavi v. Khademazad, decided Friday by the Texas Fifth Court of Appeals (Dallas), in an opinion by Justice Ken Molberg joined by Justices Amanda Reichek and Erin Nowell:
Sean Gharavi appeals from a judgment of the trial court following a bench trial that awarded Behrooz Khademazad monetary damages in his libel, libel per se, business disparagement and negligence suit against Gharavi. Because we conclude Khademazad released his claims against Gharavi, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and render judgment that Khademazad take nothing….
Khademazad hired Gharavi’s company, Aidris, Inc., to develop an online marketing strategy to promote Khademazad’s dental business. When Khademazad failed to pay for the services, Aidris instituted arbitration proceedings to recover what it was owed. The arbitrator found in Aidris’s favor. Khademazad refused to voluntarily pay the arbitration award. The award was thereafter reduced to a judgment in Tarrant County. Khademazad refused to pay the trial court judgment.
Some seven months later, Gharavi, in his frustration over the judgment having not been paid, posted the following Yelp review on Khademazad’s dental practice site:
This is a review for the Grand Prairie Family Dental and Dr. Khademazad. Dr. Khademazad is not to be trusted. Grand Prairie Family Dental and Dr. Khademazad refused to pay money owed since 10/2010. Even after winning a major court judg[ ]ment in 06/16, we still have[ ] not received a penny of what is owed. Grand Prairie Fam
Article from Latest – Reason.com