A Duluth doctor was offended when the son of a patient posted a review on rate-your-doctor websites that a nurse supposedly had called him "a real tool," the Associated Press reports. So Dr. David McKee took an unusually aggressive step and sued for defamation, and now the Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next few months if the case should go to trial, the newspaper reports.
The case could be significant because it offers the courts a chance to address an ongoing tension on review websites, such as Yelp and Angie's List, between the free speech rights of consumers (or patients), and the rights of business owners (like doctors) to protect their reputations.
McKee, 50, is one of a small number of doctors who have gone to court to fight online critics, a story in the Jewish World Review notes.
In a few previous similar cases:
In Orlando, a doctor sued last spring after a woman wrote a bad review of her breast augmentation surgery, Business Insider reports.
An Oregon pastor sued a mother and her daughter for $500,000 after the two blogged about the church and described it as "cult-like," Fox News reported last spring.