Texas Couple Sued Over 1-Star Yelp Review Gets Relief in Court

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Michelle Duchouquette and her husband planned to travel outside of their home in Plano, so they decided to use a local petsitting service, Prestigious Pets.

Once they returned home, the couple realized they weren’t pleased with the company. Michelle wrote on the Prestigious Pets’ Yelp page detailing the things she wasn’t satisfied with, like certain fees and the overfeeding of her fish. In turn, the company responded point-by-point. This kind of interaction isn’t unusual on Yelp, but what followed was extremely odd.

The Duchouquettes suddenly found themselves facing a lawsuit from the company for up to $1 million for their one-star review. “When I say it out loud, saying I’m getting sued up to $1 million over this review, I can’t believe it,” Michelle told DFW CBS. But the story recently brightened for the Duchouquettes. After months of worry, the lawsuit has been dismissed.

Now, when customers visit Prestigious Pets’ Yelp page, a pop up comes on screen saying, “This business may be trying to abuse the legal system in an effort to stifle free speech, including issuing questionable legal threats against reviewers. As a reminder, reviewers who share their experiences have a First Amendment right to express their opinions on Yelp.”

It seems like Prestigious Pets’ effort to show their business in a more positive light has done the exact opposite despite the many glowingly positive reviews on their Yelp page.