A simple opinion posted on Google can be expensive, especially when it is liable to defamation. This is what happened to a man in his forties, who was ordered to pay a fine of €1,800 after the publication of an incendiary criticism against a notary.
As you may know, it has been possible for several years now to leave a review on anything and everything thanks to Google, whether it is a business, a restaurant or a professional. What harm the activity of some people, especially when the nauseating comments accumulate.
In November 2020, a British mechanic who was overwhelmed by false reviews had also filed a complaint against Google. He criticized the web giant for not having deleted the defamatory comments. Note that this phenomenon does not only concern Google, since the number of fake reviews has exploded on Amazon since the start of the pandemic.
A notary files a complaint after the publication of two notices on Google
However, a notary based in Amiens recently made thebitter experience of these incendiary reviews posted on Google. Indeed, one of her clients, a forty-year-old, published two particularly angry comments in December 2020 against the professional: “A notary who deserves not to be known” and “Notary crook. A shame to have that in France”.
As the client posted on his behalf, it was not difficult to identify him. In fact, the Amiens did not hesitate for a second to initiate a direct citation proceedings against him for defamation. The forties in question was invited to appear this Thursday, June 2, 2022 before the court of Amiens. He did not show up for the hearing.
Maître François-Julien Schuller, the plaintiff’s lawyer, revealed why the defendant was so angry with her. This is a case concerning a commercial lease assignment project which involves a change of activities. Before proceeding, however, it was necessary to have the agreement of the owner of the premises.
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A blow of blood on Google which is expensive
Obviously, the negotiations were unsuccessful, and the forty-year-old judged that the notary was responsible. The client claimed €15,000 in damages, recalling that “in an extremely competitive field, the slightest opinion can have significant repercussions”. On his side, the prosecution recognized the offensive nature of the two posted notices, characterizing themof invective which goes beyond freedom of expression”.
While the judges requested a suspended fine of €800, the defendant finally received a suspended fine of €500. In addition, he was ordered to pay €1,000 in damages plus €800 in legal costs. Results, this stroke of blood on the Internet will have cost him 1800 €. Note, however, that these notices are still visible on the web, since only Google is able to delete them.
Source : The Courrier Picard