In Seaton v. TripAdvisor, LLC, 2012 WL 3637394 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 22, 2012), a Tennessee district court held that an online travel ratings site that created a Top Ten Dirtiest Hotels list based upon user comments and data is not liable for defamation because a reasonable person could not understand the list in question as an assertion of fact instead of merely "unverifiable rhetorical hyperbole" and the aggregated opinion of the site's millions of online users. The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss. The court concluded that the plaintiff failed to plead any facts that showed the defendant made a statement of fact, or a statement of opinion that it intended readers to believe was based on facts. The court also noted that although the site's method of arriving at its conclusions (i.e., unverified online user reviews) was "a poor evaluative metric," it was not a "system sufficiently erroneous so as to be labeled ‘defamatory' under the legal meaning of the term."
Register Now As you are not an existing subscriber please register for your free daily legal newsfeed service.Register
If you have any questions about the service please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lexology Customer Services on +44 20 7234 0606.
Travel website rankings of dirtiest hotels based on user-generated content may be flawed, but are not defamatory as a matter of law
If you are interested in submitting an article to Lexology, please contact Andrew Teague at email@example.com.
"I would like to thank the SCCA for this excellent service! The articles included in the newsfeeds are very useful and informative, and the user-friendly format of the newsfeeds means I can quickly glance over the précis in...
"I would like to thank the SCCA for this excellent service! The articles included in the newsfeeds are very useful and informative, and the user-friendly format of the newsfeeds means I can quickly glance over the précis in the emails to choose what to zoom in on."
Shell Eastern Petroleum