#Fail: Our Adversary Inadvertently Leaves Us a Glowing Testimonial!
Updated: Jan 28
Losing sucks. We all understand that, especially when losing involves paying your adversary large amounts of money. But the hallmark of a mature individual is the ability to accept the "L" with grace and take responsibility for one's actions. This is not a story of a mature individual.
In mid-2021 I was able to assist my client (let's call him Drew) in obtaining a favorable cash settlement against two of his former best friends (let's call them Blake and Chad). Blake and Chad allegedly stole tens of thousands of dollars from my client in a series of real estate deals. In between deals, Drew had come out as gay and married his husband; Blake and Chad are heterosexuals who were surprised by Drew's reveal and marriage, and Drew initially suspected the theft was the result of anti-homosexual animus. It was an emotional case for all involved with many hard feelings, but when all parties put pen to paper in a settlement agreement after a fruitful mediation, my client was happy to have it behind him. Blake and Chad agreed to repay a large portion of the disputed amount, and they in fact did pay. It was a big win, and my client and his husband ultimately used the settlement monies to start a new life in Europe. Happily ever after it seemed.
Unbeknownst to me, Chad didn't take defeat very well. It started off somewhat innocuous; with each settlement payment Chad would note in the reference line that the payments were "extortion" payments. At first, I thought it was a jab directed at my client--just another bit of taunting that lawyers routinely shield from their clients for their own sake. When the payments were complete, I thought that was the last I'd hear from Chad. I was mistaken.
Five months later, apparently still seething from my firm's victory against him, Chad took to attacking me personally! In a shocking move, Chad pretended to have been one of my former clients and left the following 1-star "review" on Google:
In utter disbelief that Chad could be so bold as to attack a lawyer with blatantly defamatory statements, I did what I have done for many of my own clients: I contacted Chad and Chad's former lawyer and threatened to sue Chad into financial oblivion if Chad did not remove the fake Google review immediately. Incredulously, instead of removing the offending review, Chad tried to cure the defamation by modifying it to say he was merely expressing his "opinion" as a former opponent.
What Chad apparently failed to realize is that by admitting he was never my client, he admitted that the original review was false and that his modified review was not really a review at all; rather, it was a intentional attempt at damaging my reputation. Chad's malice would subject him to punitive damages, and Chad's liability was potentially enormous. I suspect his lawyer advised him as such because not long thereafter Chad came to his senses and all of Chad's reviews were voluntarily removed from Google.
While this experience was personally unpleasant to me, on the bright side, Chad's reviews were actually a compliment. My firm was able to achieve such a great settlement for my client that his adversaries remained sour and bitter (at me personally) months after the conclusion of the dispute! If your case is likely to be particularly acrimonious, you need a lawyer that will fight hard on your behalf. Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation and discuss your options!