Ore. dentist sues over bad online reviews

An Oregon dentist is suing a former patient for posting negative reviews of the dentist's work online, according to an article in Willamette Week.

Mo Saleh, DMD, filed suit after Spencer Bailey wrote about his experience at Dental Dynamics on Yelp.com, DoctorOogle.com, and Google. Dr. Saleh claimed that the posts damaged his reputation, caused profit loss, and emotional distress.

The $300,000 suit was filed on June 26 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, the article noted.

According to the complaint, Bailey wrote that the care he received was "improper and insufficient" and urged others to "GET A SECOND OPINION" if informed of the existence of caries by Dr. Saleh.

Bailey's lawyers contend that after Bailey went to Dr. Saleh, he went to another dentist who found unnecessary and poorly placed fillings. The attorneys also claim that Dr. Saleh made threatening phone calls to Bailey, demanding that he remove the online comments. Bailey complied, but Dr. Saleh moved forward with his lawsuit, the article stated.

Dr. Saleh filed his suit under strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) laws.

Dentists who have tried to combat negative comments posted online have often been unsuccessful. In 2011, a California dentist who filed a defamation case over negative reviews on Yelp.com had to pay $80,000 in attorney fees to a young patient's parents, whom she sued. A California appeals court supported Yelp reviews in 2010.

And a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2011 against a New York dentist who required patients to agree not to post negative comments about her online before she would treat them.

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