Dietz v. Perez holds that a preliminary injunction in an alleged defamation case is an unlawful prior restraint under the first amendment. It's the most recent national case to make that finding adding to the roughly 230 years of U.S. law on the subject.
Jane Perez heaped criticism on Dietz contractors after she felt that they botched the home repair job. She went onto consumer sites Yelp and Angie's List to state her criticism, and Dietz responded by suing her and asking a judge to force her to remove critical comments. The judge refused to grant a full injunction, but he did force Perez to remove comments about two issues. The Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling and said that Perez could not be forced to remove the comments.
Here is a link to a report on the case by the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press: Virginia Supreme Court Reverses Injunction Against Online Commenter.
"A Virginia woman being sued by her home contractor for libel won't have to remove negative comments she posted on Internet review sites about him, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled.
The state’s high court reversed a Fairfax County Circuit Court judge’s ruling ordering Jane Perez to delete portions of her review of the contractor on Yelp and Angie’s List. In her review, Perez mentioned that her jewelry was missing. She also referenced the outcome of a suit brought by the contractor against Perez for nonpayment.
The Circuit Court also barred Perez from making similar claims on other online comment sites.
In a one-page ruling issued on Dec. 28, a three-judge panel of the state Supreme Court vacated the Circuit Court’s Dec. 7 order, saying the injunction was not justified and the lower court did not specify how long it would be effective."The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and a Washington-based advocacy group called Public Citizen helped represent Perez in the case.