Illinois dentist sues patient in $4M lawsuit over online reviews, patient cites first amendment

After a dentist sued a former patient for millions of dollars in damages for defamation, the defendant said the lawsuit is an attempt to silence her constitutionally protected speech, according to legal journal Cook County Record. 

In August, Robert Goldberg, DDS, who practices in Buffalo Grove, Ill., filed a lawsuit against former patient Mary Katherine Alberti, alleging libel and false light invasion of privacy.

Dr. Goldberg alleges that, beginning in April 2019, Ms. Alberti posted hundreds of negative online reviews about his practice, falsely claimed he threatened her. Dr. Golberg also claims Ms. Alberti falsely accused him of recommending unnecessary treatments, among others, in online posts.

Dr. Goldberg is seeking up to $4 million in damages, claiming that Ms. Alberti's online statements damaged his reputation and practice.

In mid-September, Ms. Alberti asked the judge to dismiss Goldberg's lawsuit. She said Dr. Goldberg's interpretation of her statements don't legally reach the level of defamation he claims. Ms. Alberti said the lawsuit "is an attempt to silence a dental patient" and violates her first amendment rights.

According to the defendant, her review also described Dr. Goldberg as a "talented endodontist with a seemingly brilliant career." She claimed her review is based on personal experience and not professional expertise.

Dr. Goldberg has until Nov. 20 to reply to Ms. Alberti's motion to dismiss.

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