Owner sues customer over negative reviews of dog obedience business

Jennifer Ujimori posted negative reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List after being dissatisfied with her experience with a Burke, Va. dog obedience class. Now the owner is suing her for damages. [Washington Post] Unlike D.C., Maryland and more than half the states, Virginia has not enacted a law (sometimes labeled “anti-SLAPP” statutes) that “allow for the quick dismissal of cases a judge deems to be targeting First Amendment rights.” I’m scheduled to be a guest on Washington, D.C.’s Fox 5 (WTTG) to discuss the case around 8:30 this morning (Friday).

Update: here’s the clip:


  • The name of the business is Burke’s Dog Tranquility. The owner appears to be Colleen Dermott. That’s what three minutes of Googling brings up.

    I think that if we are to make people like this appreciate the weight of the Streisand Effect and the meaning of Freedom of Speech and the Press, their names should be made available.


  • A good anti-SLAPP law would also make the plaintiff and his lawyer jointly and severally liable for the defendant’s costs. This would be a backup for judges who are reluctant to dismiss any case early. The government already allows one-way cost shifting in some anti-discrimination lawsuits.

  • Is there an available list that has the states that have anti-SLAPP statutes?