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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Online reviews of businesses are protected speech, Oregon Supreme Court affirms

Associated Press

EUGENE – The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that a lower court was correct to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by the owner of a wedding venue that received a negative review online.

The Register-Guard reportedon Thursday the high court ruled that an online reviewer’s critical remarks about the Cheshire-area venue Dancing Deer Mountain are protected free speech.

Dancing Deer owner Carol Neumann filed a defamation lawsuit against critic Christopher Liles in 2011 after he posted on Google Reviews saying the venue was a “disaster” and accusing Neumann of being “crooked” and “rude.”

A Lane County judge dismissed the initial lawsuit. The state appellate court in 2014 sided with Neumann, but the Supreme Court has ruled Liles’ review is protected under the First Amendment.