Oregon's Ashley Inn Sues for Defamation After Anonymous Person Posts Scathing TripAdvisor Review
Aimee Green | The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. | May 22, 2014 2:46pm
May 21--Less than a month after an anonymous TripAdvisor.com user posted a very unflattering review of a Lincoln City hotel, the hotel has filed a $74,500 defamation lawsuit in an attempt to stop the reviewer from posting again and driving away business.
The Ashley Inn -- which is owned by the Lincoln City Lodging Limited Partnership -- is up in arms about an April 23 review that stated "laundry and housekeeping are either high or drunk" and "breakfast is nasty, the rooms are nasty," according to the suit. The review also claimed that "the owner smokes weed" and "Jen front desk had phone sex with someone," the suit states.
The critique appears to have been taken down. It was not on TripAdvisor.com as of Wednesday. But, states the suit: "Defendant's review was accessible to any person who visited TripAdvisor from a computer device in Oregon."
The lawsuit claims that the person who posted the review, under the user name "12Kelly," misrepresented that he or she lives in Prescott, Arizona, and stayed at the inn in March. The suit states that once the identity of the reviewer is found, his or her name will be listed as the defendant.
The hotel has generally garnered good reviews on TripAdvisor.com, with 286 critiques posted and an average rating of four out of five points. Among the comments, "Love the place and love the staff" and "Best treasure in Lincoln City." Some other reviewers had bad things to say but to a lesser degree than 12Kelly's review. Their reviews have remained online.
In March, the Oregon Court of Appeals for the first time took up the issue of whether Oregon business owners can sue people who post scathing reviews on Yelp, Angie's List, Facebook or elsewhere. In its March ruling, the appeals court said the owners of an outdoor wedding venue could sue a wedding guest who posted a Google Review that included the statement that attending the event was "The worst experience of my life!"
The Ashley Inn's lawsuit, filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, claims that 12Kelly's review is full of lies.
"Defendant made the statements deliberately, maliciously, and willfully with the specific intent to cause damage to the character and reputation of Lincoln City Lodging and the Inn," the suit reads.
The suit was filed by Portland attorney Jeffrey Frasier.
-- Aimee Green