Could a business sue me over a negative review?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2018

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Could a business sue me over a negative review?

I put a negative review on Google about a
former employer of mine stating ‘I would not
take my dog here. Lack of safety procedures.’
Could she sue me over defamation? I live in

Asked on March 29, 2018 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, defamation is an untrue factual assertion or statement which damages your reputation and/or causes you some loss (like a potential loss of business). An opinion, however, negative, is not defamation--only factual assertions which are false are defamation, and everyone is legally entitled to an opinion.
What you describe seems to straddle the line between factual assertion and opinion: saying that you would not bring a dog somewhere is an opinion, but asserting a lack of safety procedures could be seen as a factual assertion (e.g. that they are not following OSHA or other industry-accepted procedures; that there are unsafe conditions at work). Therefore, while it is not a given that they would win if they were to sue you over a statement like this, they could at least assert a credible claim and force you to defend yourself in court--and they might win. It's not worth possibly being sued to have the satisfaction of saying something negative about a former employer--leave the post/review down.

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