May 22, 2012
“Florida Plastic Surgeon Sues His Internet Critics”
Brendan McLaughlin, ABC Action News, Orlando, Florida
TAMPA – Whether you are looking for a good doctor, pool contractor or piano tuner, the internet has countless sites where you can get other people’s opinions.
But one plastic surgeon in Orlando decided comments posted about him on a ratings site for doctors were libelous and he’s suing the posters.
Dr. Armando Soto’s website has glowing testimonials from patients delighted with his surgical tucks, lifts, reductions and augmentations.
But look up Dr. Soto on RateMDs.com and you’ll get a different impression. Some posters are full of praise saying Dr. Soto did “an amazing job.”
But another writer calls him “Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, cold, uncaring and rude.”
Another complains that “the 9″ scars are horrific and I was charged for a procedure which two other surgeons have said was not done.”
Dr. Soto is suing these posters, who are not named in the lawsuit.
MAY 23, 2012
“A Doctor Sued A Patient For Posting Negative Online Reviews About Her Breast Augmentation”
Mandy Woodruff, Business Insider
An Orlando woman was slapped with a lawsuit after she blasted her plastic surgeon on RateMDs.com for what she said was a botched breast augmentation.
In one comment, she complained of a “horrific” 9-inch scar left by the procedure and said the implants were too large: “My breasts are uneven and I was charged for a procedure which two other surgeons have said was not done.”
Once Soto tracked down the poster (he had to go through an attorney after RateMDs refused to turn over her identity) and filed a $49,000 suit for libel and defamation.
Whether or not her allegations were true, it looks like the woman’s agreed to back down in exchange for a corrective procedure. “The good news is that we are now working collaboratively toward the goal of achieving her complete satisfaction, and she has agreed to remove these posts, as well as those falsely placed by her friends,” Soto wrote.
May 23, 2012
“Plastic Surgeon Sues Patients For Anonymous Online Complaints”
WFTV, Orlando, Florida
An Orlando, Florida, plastic surgeon is suing 10 patients who he claims anonymously posted comments online about their bad experiences inside his office. Dr. Armando Soto claims the complaints are lies and have damaged his good name. He said he is seeking $49,000 in damages.
One woman wrote that her “9-inch scars are horrific, frightening and unnecessary” after a breast augmentation.
Critics said the lawsuit is frivolous.
“The right to speak anonymously is a fundamental right, particularly when you’re expressing opinion,” said attorney David Muraskin.
When WFTV went to Soto’s office for comment, we were directed to his blog, which said he only filed the suit to learn why his clients weren’t satisfied, and if possible, fix the problems. However, it does not say why he’s seeking damages.
May 23, 2012
“Online Comment Prompts Lawsuit From Plastic Surgeon”
WESH, Orlando, Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. —Posting comments and complaints about a business is something more people are doing in the digital age, but an Orlando plastic surgeon has filed a lawsuit against a patient who let her opinions be known online.
Dr. Armando Soto filed a lawsuit against a woman who let her feelings be known online.
According to the woman’s attorney, she made the comments on RateMDs.com. She saw Soto to improve her stomach, but her assessment was, “Wasted money, bad experience, my love handles look bigger.”
Soto responded with a lawsuit seeking $49,000 in damages. Soto also filed the lawsuit against nine other patients.
The woman’s attorney, who is with Public Citizen, a consumer watch group out of Washington, said the lawsuit is part of a scary trend. “Dr. Soto is attempting to essentially scare off people from using their First Amendment rights,” Attorney Dave Muraskin said.
May 24, 2012
“Florida Doctor Sues Patient For Posting Bad Review Online”
Fox News, Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida plastic surgeon has filed a lawsuit against one of his patients for posting an unfavorable review of him online.
Dr. Armando Soto told My Fox Orlando he filed the suit to protect his reputation and his business. The unnamed patient allegedly trashed his services online at the website Rate MDs, posting complaints about a breast surgery.
May 29, 2012
“Plastic Surgeon Sues Patient for Posting Negative Review”
John Washam, Talk To The Manager Blog
Restaurants and hotels aren’t the only categories of service business that are vulnerable to online reviews. Healthcare providers also are wary of reviews appearing on medical review sites such as Vitals, Rate MDs, and Rate Your Doctor.
Dr. Armando Soto is claiming defamation against a patient who posted a negative review on Rate MDs.
Domingo Rivera, attorney for Dr. Soto, said the patient’s comments on Rate MDs aren’t opinions protected by the First Amendment but a “malicious campaign of unlawfully defaming and spreading lies” about his client and business.
The counsel for the unnamed patient warned the suit could have a chilling effect on users of sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Rate Your Doctor, and others that rate professionals and services. “The terror created by this lawsuit will squelch freedom of speech,” said David Muraskin, a Public Citizen attorney representing the defendant.