1-star Yelp review for overfeeding pet fish leads to $1M lawsuit

1-star Yelp review for overfeeding pet fish leads to $1M lawsuit
Credit: Cosmic Jans / Flickr

After allegedly overfeeding ‘Gordy’ a Texas couple’s pet beta fish, Prestigious Pets found themselves on the receiving end of a one-star Yelp review. As it often does in the United States, this led to a million dollar lawsuit.

Among other allegations, Prestigious Pets claimed the couple violated its non-disparagement clause and defamed the company on Yelp in last year’s review. The company also made the assertion that the review amounted to libel, as overfeeding a fish is akin to animal cruelty — a crime in all states.

Here’s the review that started it all:

The one star is for potentially harming my fish, otherwise it would have been two stars. We have a camera on the bowl and we watched the water go from clear to cloudy. There was a layer of food on the bottom from way too much being put in it. Even if you don’t have fish, you should be able to see the change in the bowl and stop putting in food. Better yet, ask us how much to feed if you are unsure.

It’s painful, but I’m going to gloss right over the fact that a couple had a nanny cam set up to monitor their pet fish.

Today, Judge Jim Jordan dismissed the lawsuit. He also ordered the pet shop to pay the couple’s lawyers in addition to imposing sanctions ‘sufficient to deter them from bringing similar actions’ against Prestigious Pets’ attorneys.

Hopefully we can all sleep at night knowing justice has been served.

Gordy the fish declined to comment.

Judge tosses lawsuit over 1-star Yelp review for overfeeding pet fish on Ars Technica

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