Business Owner Agrees to $125K Settlement for Purported Legal Threats Over Negative Customer Reviews
"It is ironic that a company named for an iconic symbol of freedom would concern itself with violating the free speech and other legally entitled rights of consumers," Attorney General Aaron M. Frey said in a media release. "I hope this case will remind consumers that no business can require you to waive your right to leave honest reviews of businesses and products."
"Parris's continuous inaction at each stage of the litigation resulted in significant harm to Chaddsford in the form of a $75,000 default judgment and court-imposed sanctions of $1,225 in attorneys' fees with post judgment interest. Parris took no action to vacate the default judgment against Chaddsford and did not notify Chaddsford of the default judgment until approximately five months later," Justice Angela M. Eaves wrote on behalf of the unanimous court.
"The specific circumstances of this case—and, more importantly, of Westport's allegations against Bosch's customers—indicates that there is a 'substantial controversy' between Bosch and Westport, that is of 'sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant the issuance of a declaratory judgment.' ... Bosch has met the Article III requirements to bring this declaratory judgment action," Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. said.
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