Yelp warns California lawsuit could scrub critical reviews

In this Oct. 26, 2011 file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's Manhattan offices in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
In this Oct. 26, 2011 file photo, the logo of the online reviews website Yelp is shown in neon on a wall at the company's Manhattan offices in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yelp.com is warning that a California lawsuit targeting critical posts about a law firm could lead to the removal of negative reviews on the site.

The company is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn a court order requiring it to remove the posts criticizing Dawn Hassell’s San Francisco law firm.

Yelp says that if the ruling is allowed to stand, it will open the door for businesses to force the company to remove critical reviews.

Hassell says the business review website is exaggerating the stakes her legal effort. She says it aims only to remove from Yelp lies by a former client that a judge determined were defamatory, not just negative.

The state high court faces an Oct. 14 deadline to decide whether to hear the case or let the lower-court ruling stand. Experts expect Yelp to prevail.

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