Beverly Hills dentist sues former couple for bad Yelp review

Jory Rand Image
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Beverly Hills dentist sues ex-couple for bad Yelp review
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A dentist is suing a local former couple for posting a negative review of his business on Yelp.

LOS ANGELES, CA -- A Beverly Hills dentist is suing a former couple for posting a negative review of his business on Yelp.

Elise Golbert is a professional model who has suffered from neck pain her entire life. Golbert spoke to Eyewitness News from Montreal on Wednesday via Skype. She says while accompanying her then-husband Jeff Cullen to Beverly Hills dentist Dr. Parsa Zedah, she mentioned her neck pain.

"He told me that he could fix my neck pain, and that it was because my jawbones don't align," she said.

Zedah performed several procedures on Golbert's mouth. She was not happy with the results.

"I had bigger teeth than any man around me," she said.

Golbert says she tried to get Zedah to fix them, but he did not, and she was left to have other dentists attempt to.

Frustrated by what Golbert had to go through, Cullen went online and wrote a 357-word review on Yelp, calling Zedah a butcher and a crook.

"It was nothing other than, 'Folks, this is our experience. Watch out,'" Cullen said.

It turns out it was enough to bring about a lawsuit for libel and fraud against both Cullen and Golbert.

"I'm not even the one who wrote the Yelp review. I don't know what he's suing me for. I really don't," Golbert said.

"The last thing I need in my life is to have to go to court over something as ridiculous as this," said Cullen.

Eyewitness News spoke with the attorney for Zedah on Wednesday, who did not want to speak on camera. He said people's opinions are free speech protected under the Constitution, but lies and making false allegations are libelous.

Cullen says he took the review down when asked to, but the lawsuit continues.

"This the First Amendment. This is your right as an American to voice your opinion. I wasn't out to slander," Cullen said.

There is a chance that the lawsuit may be illegal. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2365 into law. Known as the Yelp law, it prohibits companies from fining customers for online reviews. In fact, according to the law, companies themselves can be fined $2,500 for a first offense and up to $15,000 for repeat offenders.