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Laura Offenbacher Aradi is an associate in Crowell & Moring's Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation and Labor & Employment groups. Laura has significant litigation experience, ranging from pre-suit risk assessment to dispositive motion practice to trial and appeal. In the products liability and toxic torts realm, Laura currently serves as national coordinating counsel to a major telecommunications company and related entities for their asbestos docket. Laura has also defended large pharmaceutical companies against claims involving methadone and Seroquel. Laura has had a lead role on these significant dockets managing discovery and fact investigation as well as preparing complex summary judgment and Daubert briefs.

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In today’s social media and internet focused world, tracking online reviews and commentary from consumers is essential for product manufacturers and retailers. Savvy online participation can provide companies with important quality feedback and bolster customer relations when consumer concerns are handled quickly and sensitively. But even companies are not immune to cyber trolls. What happens when an online comment or review contains false information about your product or brand, or accuses your company of offering poor customer service or selling defective goods? And, as is commonly the case, how can the truth of the matter be verified if the comment is posted anonymously? Here are some suggestions to follow as you work through the issue:

  1. Step One: Arm yourself with information by reviewing the basic elements of defamation law.
  2. Step Two: Assess whether action is necessary.  Sometimes ignoring the issue can be the right answer.
  3. Step Three: Take informal action, such as responding to blog comments on your own with your side of the story or requesting a retraction from the author or website host.
  4. Step Four: Assess goals and risks of litigation or formal action. 
  5. Step Five: If necessary, strategically draft a defamation complaint to initiate litigation.
  6. Step Six: Stand your ground and litigate aggressively through discovery challenges and other potential obstacles.

For more details, see the full article:  Six Steps to Protecting Your Reputation Online