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Defamation Suit Tossed: MHH Prevails On Motion To Dismiss Complaint Under New York’s Recently Amended Anti-SLAPP Law

Led by Nicholas Calabria, MHH obtained a favorable decision on behalf of its client who was sued by a cosmetic laser and aesthetic facility (“Facility”) for posting a negative Google review about its business.  In the lawsuit, the Facility claimed that our client’s negative Google review was defamatory, and asserted a single cause of action for defamation per se.  The Facility also alleged that as a direct result of the Google review, its business reputation was exposed to distrust and lack of integrity about its services.

In response, MHH filed a pre-answer motion to dismiss the Facility’s complaint, and successfully argued that our client’s Google review was protected by New York’s recently amended Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law under New York’s Civil Rights law.

In granting MHH’s pre-answer motion to dismiss, Justice Napolitano of the Suffolk County Supreme Court found that the Google review was “nothing more than the published opinions of a dissatisfied customer” and “that the even-toned and highly opinionated Google review posted by the defendant, does not expose [the Facility] to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, etc.”  The Court further held that the Facility failed to demonstrate our client acted with actual malice – that is, with knowledge that the Google review was false or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statement.

In short, the Court held that the Facility failed to plead a cause of action cognizable at law for defamation.

This was a great win for MHH, and a fantastic win for our client.

Perfect Body Image, LLC v. Platz

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