CHICAGO (CN) – An anonymous $50 million lawsuit claiming that Google published libelous comments on various review websites has been voluntarily dismissed.
In August 2011, two Illinois medical professionals and their medical practice sued Google anonymously for libel and for interfering with their business relationships.
In their complaint, Jane Doe and Dr. John Doe alleged that Google maintains a series of blogs “which provide what purport to be accurate reports of experiences of various consumers.” Google allegedly did not monitor “whether these sites are being used to libel or otherwise intentionally denigrate both the person and professional qualifications or services of individuals and entities located within the State of Illinois, including the plaintiffs.”
The Does claimed that, throughout the spring of 2011, Google’s services were used to libel the plaintiffs and their place of business by the publication of false statements.
These statements allegedly attacked “the integrity and skill of the plaintiffs, stating that procedures were performed without the requisite level of skill and care required of a professional.”
For example, one supposed patient posted a comment that “she had injectable fillers done to her by Jane Doe at plaintiffs’ facility resulting in facial lumps which would require multiple surgeries to correct.” This same poster “insisted that Jane Doe was posting ‘fake’ posts praising herself and the other plaintiffs as self-generated favorable publicity.”
The Does asserted that Google refused to stop the publication of these “malicious” and allegedly libelous statements, causing them to lose business and their reputations. They sought over $50 million in damages.
The complaint stated that, as a highly profitable publicly traded company, Google “has an obligation under the law to avoid publishing false statements and libels, but declines to fulfill that obligation in its continued effort to increase its profits while ignoring the converse of those profits.”
Last week, Google removed the case from the Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois to the Northern District of Illinois because the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.
The next day, the Does filed a notice dismissing all their claims against Google without prejudice.