Man ordered to pay $34,000 over false YELP review...
Quincy Center jeweler wins suit over Yelp review
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at 12:01 AM Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 8:56 AM
QUINCY -- A jury has decided that a Quincy Center jewelry store employee owes the owner of a nearby shop more than $30,000 for posting a false Yelp review about the rival establishment.
Adam Jacobs, an employee of Toodie’s Fine Jewelry, has to pay Stephen Blumberg, the owner of Stephen Leigh Jewelers, $34,500 for the emotional distress a jury decided that Jacobs caused by knowingly posting the false information.
Posted in August 2013, the multi-paragraph review detailed a supposed visit to Stephen Leigh Jewelers. The reviewer said he entered the shop looking to buy a 1.5-carat diamond engagement ring and had a generally bad experience. As a result, the reviewer said he would advise someone interested in buying jewelry or a watch to “go elsewhere.”
Blumberg’s lawsuit stated that the interaction never happened.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Blumberg said he figured out that “Adam J.” was Jacobs by phoning other businesses that “Adam J.” had reviewed on Yelp, which is a site featuring user ratings of stores, restaurants and other establishments.
“I did do research for several months,” Blumberg said. “I knew after two or three that I was right on the target.”
Blumberg filed the lawsuit in December 2013 in Norfolk Superior Court. In addition to suing Jacobs, he also sued Toodie’s, alleging that the store, owned by Jacobs’ father, was also responsible and was looking to tarnish Blumberg’s reputation.
The jury rendered its decision March 22. It rejected the assertion that Toodie’s was at fault.
In civil cases, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal ones. The plaintiff must prove that the offense is more likely than not to have happened, which is much lower than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard for criminal prosecution.
Allen Levin, the attorney for Jacobs and Toodie’s, said he and Jacobs were looking into possible post-trial motions and the possibility of an appeal. Levin said it would be inappropriate to comment more about the suit against Jacobs at this point.
He said he and his clients were glad that the jury found the jewelry store not responsible.
“We’re thrilled that Toodie’s has been vindicated,” he said.
Sean Philip Cotter may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.