Business Watchdog Dodges Law Firm's Defamation Suit

Law360, Los Angeles (May 29, 2013, 2:12 PM EDT) -- A California judge Wednesday threw out Brookstone Law PC's lawsuit alleging the Better Business Bureau of the Southland Inc. posted defamatory ratings about the law firm in retaliation for its refusal to pay BBB fees, ruling that business ratings are constitutionally protected free speech.

At a hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Malcolm H. Mackey ruled that BBB's ratings are protected by the First Amendment and dismissed Brookstone Law's complaint based on California's law banning strategic lawsuits against public participation, or anti-SLAPP.

“It's free speech,”...
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