Virginia Supreme Court yelps over censorship

The Virginia Supreme Court is dealing with new-age censorship this week as it tackles a case dealing with negative posts on business review websites Yelp and Angie’s List.

The court overturned a preliminary injunction against a Fairfax County woman for negative reviews of a Washington contractor who worked on her house. The contractor subsequently filed a $750,000 defamation lawsuit against the homeowner.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court had ordered her reviews on the websites removed. The ACLU appealed the decision, saying the woman’s First Amendment rights were violated.

The state supreme court overturned the injunction two days after the appeal was filed, finding the contractor had an adequate remedy in suing for damages.

According to The Washington Post, such lawsuits are on the rise as the country grapples balancing free speech with defamation and libel in the age of infinite Internet information.

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