The plaintiff in Hassell v. Bird was a lawyer who sued a former client, claiming the client posted a negative review of her on Yelp. The client never responded. The lawyer then asked the court to enter an order requiring Yelp – who was not a party to the suit - to remove the post.
Yelp challenged the order. Surprisingly, in June of this year, the California Court of Appeal held that the court could force Yelp to remove the post. The court also held that this order was consistent with § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides Internet service providers immunity for content created by their users (with a couple exceptions).
Yelp has since asked the California Supreme Court to review the case, which was granted on Sep. 21, 2016.
The court’s opinion in Hassell v Bird has been called wrong, terrible, and even brutally ugly. It touches upon the First Amendment, Section 230, due process, and prior restraint.
Get ready for a lively and exciting discussion!