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A property owner in Michigan reports that he is being sued for defamation after posting an unfavorable review of a contractor on the Internet.

According to a statement by the owner, the negative review simply chronicled the experience he had after paying the contractor about $20,000 for work that the owner says had to be redone. The review includes photos.

In order to prevail in a defamation case, generally a party would need to prove that the defamatory statement would likely be viewed as factual, is untrue, and damaged the victim financially.

Online review sites encourage consumer feedback, and naturally spurn defamation suits that discourage those who wish to leave comments. In order to strike a balance, businesses profiled are usually provided the opportunity to tell their side of the story on the same online post.

Victims who sue for defamation run the risk of drawing more attention to the controversy while in the process of clearing their names.

Damages for defamation can include lost profits, and in some states, punitive damages can be awarded.

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