By LAURA BITTNER
WASHINGTON (CN) – A sports apparel retailer claims in court that Google failed to delete a defamatory blog post from its search engine results that damaged her company’s sales.
In a complaint filed Nov. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, plaintiff Dawn Bennett says she hired consultant Scott Pierson to improve her company’s web presence and enhance its marking and search engine optimization.
Bennett says she hired Pierson after being convinced he had the knowledge and experience to improve her company’s sales. Instead, as a result of his efforts, DJ Bennett’s sales actually went down.
Ultimately Pierson agreed to lower his fee. However, disputes continued to arise, Bennett says.
The retailer says she agreed to pay Pierson in installments, and all but the last payment was made successfully. Bennett said the final payment was mailed to Pierson but didn’t reach him because he’d relocated.
Shortly after the missed plaintiff, Pierson wrote a defamatory blog post about Bennett and the retailer say he submitted the post to Google for it to publicize.
The post claimed DJ Bennett owed money to thousands of people and warned readers to “think twice before giving your patronage” with the retailer.
Bennett says Pierson then went on to blame her for the reduction in his fee.
Bennett says she attempted to have the blog post removed, but Pierson refused.
She says the blog post caused her extreme emotional stress and continues to hurt her business.
Bennett seeks $3 million in compensatory damages, $5 million in punitive damages and a court order compelling Google to remove the blog post.