Law firm sues student for $200K after she left negative reviews, judge rules against company

midian182

Posts: 6,298   +53
Staff member

Providing they’re truthful, people have every right to leave bad reviews on sites such as Facebook and Yelp. But some companies will try anything to get these comments removed, even if it means suing the people who post them.

This is the situation that 20-year-old Lan Cai found herself in after she complained about the poor service she received from law firm Tuan A. Khuu. The Texas nursing student turned to the company following a car crash in the summer. Her vehicle had been hit by a drunk driver as she made her way home from a late night waitressing shift, resulting in two broken bones in her lower back, according to Ars Technica.

Cai said her experience with Tuan Khuu was very unsatisfactory, giving it a one-star Yelp review and, in a Facebook post, warning potential clients not to waste their time with the firm. Not only did Khuu regularly ignore her attempts to make contact, but lawyers from the company visited the family home and entered Cai’s bedroom while she was sleeping in her underwear, though they claim to have been invited in by the girl’s mother. “Serious, it’s super unprofessional,” she said on Yelp.

In response to the negative posts, Tuan Khuu lawyer Keith Nguyen sent Cai an email threatening to file suit unless they were removed. She didn’t comply, and the firm sued her for between $100,000 and $200,000, which the Housten Press reports was over 100 times more than what Cai had in her bank.

When asked if he felt bad about suing the student, who was working six days a week to pay her way through college, Nguyen said: “No, I don't feel bad at all. I feel sorry for her,  because again, I gave her plenty of opportunities to retract and delete her post and she refused. She was proud: 'I've got it on Facebook. I've got it on Yelp,' with no remorse.”

Cai found attorney Michael Fleming, who was willing to represent her pro bono. He argued that the comments she left were true, and that the suit was a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Texas is one of many states that has a law allowing SLAPP suits to be thrown out of court early on in litigation. Additionally, Tuan Khuu had already received a number of negative reviews from other customers – it seems Cai wasn’t alone in expressing her displeasure.

In the end, the judge agreed with Fleming, and ordered Tuan Khuu to pay almost $27,000 in attorneys’ fees. "We are very happy with the judge’s correct ruling in this case," Fleming told Ars Technica in an e-mail. "Texas law specifically protects folks who are exercising their free speech rights and the statute was appropriately applied in this situation. People should be free to express their opinions without the threat of a lawsuit."

The ruling is good news for consumers; people shouldn’t be afraid of repercussions when leaving negative reviews for businesses that offer a poor service.

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Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,288
I'm glad she won but the judge should've rolled that sketchy law firm for more. Hopefully they won't be in business much longer. Those old corny lawyer jokes we've all heard and thought were funny was most likely the truth and were never meant to be jokes in the 1st place, just people speaking the truth.
 
You have a case of an Asian- [Vietnamese] Woman suing a Vietnamese Lawyer! If she had been White, she'd have LOST! You may Rely on That!
 

Bigtruckseries

Posts: 583   +320
You have a case of an Asian- [Vietnamese] Woman suing a Vietnamese Lawyer! If she had been White, she'd have LOST! You may Rely on That!

I just love it when people make BASELESS allegations of "what might have happened had the person been *insert color*"

You get plenty of that on Facebook and Youtube - why not Techspot huh?
 
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Jibberish18

Good for her. It would be one thing if the law firm did all they could for her and she just decided to be a jerk and left a bad review anyways but it's another if said lawfirm seems to have been given bad feedback by others before her.
 

Reachable

Posts: 370   +183
I think probably most bad reviews of this or that product or firm are sincere. However, strategic defamation by competitors is a possibility also. I'm glad the student won.
 

GirlDownunder

Posts: 126   +39
That student ought to counter-sue for their baseless attack & emotional suffering having to deal with THEM on top of injury (insult to injury?).

"what do you call a thousand, shifty-lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?"

A good start.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,306   +5,096
Did you read the article? The woman didn't sue the lawyer, the lawyer sued her.
Hey look you, nobody ever said knowing how to read was a prerequisite for being allowed to give your opinion at Techspot.

Why in fact, I can't read, I used to work for the post office...:D
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,306   +5,096
I just love it when people make BASELESS allegations of "what might have happened had the person been *insert color*" ...[ ]...
Well, because race is always as issue, even if only a sub-conscious preference or ethnocentric association.

In this case, a Vietnamese woman elicits the assistance of a Vietnamese lawyer, (for either of the reasons I mentioned earlier), and he, (or they), promptly screw her over.

Something to ponder. What would her legal outcome have been, should she have elicited the services of one of the shyster firms always advertising on TV saying, "we're here for YOU, we get YOU the biggest CASH settlements. Call 1-800-BIG-CASH"?

I mean they're often white, Christian, Jewish, Hispanic, black, and races to be named later.

Second of all, if the silly biddy ever watched any TV crime dramas, she would have known any lawyer even remotely associated with any Asian community center, is a mouthpiece for the Yacuza, or other criminal enterprise. (Obviously the name of which would be nationality dependent).

Now if she had a baby to sell, they would be your go to law firm.
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 16,306   +5,096
Its a shame they couldnt get more than 27k out of them. but karma nonetheless.
Indeed. The lawyer suing the girl for a bad review, was in my mind, the same as, "doubling down", at the Blackjack table. Accordingly, the judge should have nailed the law firm with a $400.000 settlement in favor of the defendant!

Besides, I've never heard of lawyers splitting "legal fees", with their clients. One has to wonder if the poor girl got more out of this than a crap load of aggravation and wasted time.

You have to figure she had to take time off from her (ostensibly) minimum wage job and/or classes to attend court.
 

lazer

Posts: 366   +107
You have a case of an Asian- [Vietnamese] Woman suing a Vietnamese Lawyer! If she had been White, she'd have LOST! You may Rely on That!
It really seems she used a Asian lawyer since she was Asian thinking she would support Asian and get a better deal. In the end, she got a white lawyer who sued the Asian and got her comeuppance for her.
 

tipstir

Posts: 2,854   +199
I know I had a complaint against AC Company here and posted on Yelp then on Google Plus the CEO got upset with me. But in the end I won and he gave me 1 year of free service calls and repairs just to keep me quiet!