9th Circ. Won't Revive Yelp Extortion Class Action

Law360, Los Angeles (September 2, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT) -- The Ninth Circuit on Tuesday rejected attempts to revive a proposed class action accusing Yelp Inc. of extorting advertising money from small businesses by manipulating and fabricating reviews, ruling Yelp was allowed to remove or rearrange positive reviews.

The appeals panel found that the plaintiffs failed to allege Yelp had wrongfully threatened economic loss by manipulating user reviews. There was no contractual or statutory right barring Yelp from rearranging reviews, meaning even if Yelp did threaten to repost negative reviews, it did not qualify as extortion, the panel held. 

"The business owners may deem the posting or order of user reviews...

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