"A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an Illinois lawyer’s libel lawsuit against online commenters who gave him one-star ratings after he posted an “odd and offensive” comment on Facebook.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Chicago ruled that the negative reviews for lawyer David Freydin were statements of opinion that could not support a libel claim. U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote the Jan. 28 opinion.

Freydin of the Law Offices of David Freydin—with offices in Chicago; Skokie, Illinois; and Elmhurst, Illinois—started the fracas with a question on Facebook in 2017.

“Did Trump put Ukraine on the travel ban list?! We just cannot find a cleaning lady!” he wrote.

According to the 7th Circuit, Freydin “doubled down” in the comments section “after receiving online criticism for this odd and offensive comment.”

Freydin wrote: “My business with Ukrainians will be done when they stop declaring bankruptcies. If this offends your national pride, I suggest you look for underlying causes of why 9 out of 10 cleaning ladies we’ve had were Ukrainian and 9 out of 10 of my law school professors were not. Until then, if you don’t have a recommendation for a cleaning lady, feel free to take your comments somewhere else.”

After Freydin’s post, people angered by the comments left negative reviews on his law firm’s Facebook, Yelp and Google pages, even though they had not used his legal services."

This article was originally posted in the ABA Journal.

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