Our Practice

Our group of internet litigators has unique experience representing clients who are being attacked on the internet. We are solely focused on the representation of businesses and professionals when online defamatory attacks are causing substantial harm to reputations and revenues. We have developed legal solutions to a plethora of negative situations that businesses and professionals face online to help our clients stop further defamation, end revenue drain and recover damages.

Who We Help

Businesses

Businesses are incredibly vulnerable to online reputation attacks.  Virtually anyone with a motive can seriously harm a business’s reputation online.  If your company is experiencing an online reputation crisis, we can quickly assemble a team with the skills and experience to handle your situation. Internet crises are often complicated.  Developing successful solutions for our clients requires an analysis of all the potential solutions, including legal, PR, cyber investigative, search engine optimization or a combination thereof.  Accordingly, in an online crisis, the Vorys internet defamation group collaborates with third parties, including service providers in our network, to develop creative solutions for our clients’ problems.

For example, in certain cases, we work with our strategic communications team to craft appropriate messages, while using and applying our legal skills to protect our clients from liability.  We also work with communications professionals to develop strategies to mitigate our client’s reputational damages prior to filing, and during, a lawsuit if one is necessary.   In other instances, we work with experts to try to remove damaging material as expeditiously as possible, or work with clients to negotiate confidential resolutions to minimize the further spreading of harmful information.  We have brought on internet marketing consultants to assist clients in recovering money lost from damages caused by reputational crises on the internet.

HR Teams

We work with HR teams to remove defamatory Glassdoor reviews.  For small and medium-sized businesses, Glassdoor reviews are often among the top listings in the search results for their company names.  We routinely counsel clients on how to handle false reviews and how to generate more positive reviews about working at the company.

We also frequently counsel in-house HR teams on social media policies.  Often times, online attacks and defamation are instigated by disgruntled current or former employees.  We work with our labor and employment group to devise legal strategies and policies to hold employees accountable for their actions, while not running afoul of the National Labor Relations Board’s social media related-regulations.  You can learn more about these regulations on the Vorys on Labor Blog.

Corporate Executives

Company executives and board members are also susceptible to being attacked online, and it is just as important for businesses to protect and defend against online attacks directed at their leaders.

Just as various parties such as prospective customers, potential employees and other businesses seeking B2B relationships will search for information about a business online, researching specific company executives is common practice as well.  Thus, it is easy to see the harm that can be caused if false and defamatory information about an executive appears online, particularly high in search engine rankings.

Business leaders who are wrongfully accused of fraud or other wrongdoing can seriously hurt their companies reputations. The same can be said of potential investors, prospective employees or even other executives who might otherwise consider landing a position those companies.

Our team can help businesses protect against these online reputation attacks against executives and help put strategies in place to swiftly deal with them if they occur.

Medical Professionals

Physicians and other medical professionals are uniquely susceptible to false reviews on the internet.  Physicians are vulnerable to reputation attacks for a number of reasons, and false reviews are especially challenging to physicians because of HIPAA restrictions. Unlike a restaurant owner hoping to engage in damage control and remedy a customer’s bad experience, a physician obviously cannot simply register a Yelp account and respond to an angry patient.

Like with other service industries, anyone can easily log onto Yelp or a medical-specific website, such as Vitals or Healthgrades, and say what is on his or her mind about a physician. In addition to dissatisfied patients, other classes of people that are the sources of false physician reviews include: drug addicts upset after being denied prescriptions; medical malpractice claimants; competitors; disgruntled employees; and extortionists trying to get refunds or avoid paying medical bills.  We understand the difference between someone’s First Amendment right of free speech, and someone who is purposefully defaming someone to hurt their business.

We help physicians in this area by:

  • Establishing legitimate review programs;
  • Monitoring for online reputation attacks; and

Assembling the appropriate team to help respond if a reputation attack occurs.

Our internet defamation group has extensive experience protecting and repairing the reputations of businesses and professional, identifying anonymous posters and removing false and defamatory content from the internet.

We offer and implement cutting edge strategies combining legal, investigative, and technological techniques to efficiently and effectively protect clients’ online distribution channels, trademarks, and brands. Learn more.

We have represented a wide array of industries and technologies in creating and protecting their patent applications. We offer comprehensive services that encompass the entire patent process and ensure our clients are protected. Learn more.

We help police the content of our clients’ competitors and meet our clients’ goals within the boundaries of the law, as well as facilitate the relationships between our clients and their advertising and public relations agencies. Learn more.

Vorys Defamation Law Team

Colleen M. Devanney

Colleen Devanney
Partner

Colleen is a partner in the Vorys Cincinnati office and the co-leader of the firm’s internet defamation group.  The group has worked on hundreds of internet related cases from across the country and develops unique solutions for companies and professionals that are being damaged or attacked online.  Colleen has experience in all aspects of this new area of law including internet defamation, fraudulent reviews, false advertising, traffic diversion, product diversion, trademark infringement, copyright infringement and cyber harassment.

Full Bio

Whitney Gibson
Partner

Whitney is a partner and leader of the firm’s group that focuses on internet brand and reputation issues, including both internet defamation and illegal online sales enforcement.  Whitney has developed cutting-edge, yet cost-effective, solutions for problems that businesses and individuals are facing on the internet.  Whitney frequently teaches tactics and strategies for solving internet problems to other attorneys and executives around the world in presentations and webinars, including on removing internet defamation and other damaging content, and social media and electronic discovery in complex litigation.

Full Bio

Leslie Allen
Associate

Leslie focuses her practice on online reputation and brand protection issues, including internet defamation, product diversion, trademark infringement, and online reputation attacks. Prior to joining Vorys, Leslie worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Alice M. Craft in the U.S. Department of Labor- Office of Administrative Law Judges. Leslie received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law, where she was a comment editor and a staff member of the Dayton Law Review. She received her B.A. from Miami University.

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Jordan Cohen
Associate

Jordan focuses his practice on internet defamation and other brand protection and online reputation issues. He is a regular contributor to this blog and the Online Seller Enforcement blog.  Jordan received his J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he was a founding member of the Cincinnati Intellectual Property and Computer Law Journal. He was also a reporter for the Updates @ UC Law e-newsletter. Jordan received his B.A. with high distinction from Indiana University.

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Laura Erdman
Associate

Laura counsels businesses on issues related to e-commerce and online brand protection. More specifically, she has assisted with the expansion of the Vorys brand protection program on a global scale. Laura continues to expand Vorys’ network of international law firms with a high level of focus and knowledge of online retailers. Laura received her J.D. summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University, where she was the executive editor of the Washington and Lee Law Review.  She received her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Maryland.

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Blake Finney
Associate

Blake focuses his practice on brand protection, online seller enforcement, and internet defamation. He handles matters related to product diversion, trademark infringement, internet traffic diversion, and online reputation attacks. Blake received his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was the contributing editor for the Michigan Journal of Race and Law. He received his B.A. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Mary C. Henkel

Mary Henkel
Of Counsel

Mary focuses her practice on trial and appellate litigation including helping businesses protect their reputations and fight internet defamation.  Mary has briefed and argued appeals in state and federal courts and the Supreme Courts of several states. Mary received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. summa cum laude from Xavier University.

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Daniel C. Morgenstern

Dan Morgenstern
Associate

Dan’s practice is focused on civil litigation and he handles matters relating to intellectual property and internet defamation matters.  Dan received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he participated in the Criminal Defense Clinic and the mock trial team. While in law school, he served as a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.  Dan received his B.S. with highest honors from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

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Adam Sherman
Partner

Adam helps our online brand protection clients, including in litigation involving online defamation.  He has assisted clients in a number of industries, including a major skin care company.  Adam received his J.D. from the New York University School of Law and his B.A. with high honors from the University of Michigan.

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