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When a popular Los Angeles area restaurant receives an overwhelmingly negative Yelp review, its owner brings the reviewer to court. But is the review justified? Find out on Food Court.
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- Hello, and welcome to Food Court. Our litigants are preparing to enter the court room in the case of "When you Judge Upon a Star". This is the plaintiff, Jack Robichaud. He claims that the defendant left an unjustified one-star review of his restaurant, and he would like it removed. This is the defendant, Ryan O'Flanagan. He says that he left an honest review of the plaintiff's restaurant, And he doesn't see why it should be removed. So let's watch as our litigants go over the details of this dispute, in Food Court. - Mr. Robichaud, you are suing the defendant over a one-star Yelp review of your restaurant Adobe Sunset? - Yes, Your Honor. I take a lot of pride in my restaurant, and I just found the review to be unjustly negative. I contacted Mr. O'Flanagan, I very nicely just asked him to take the review down, he wouldn't do it, I even offered to give him a free dinner and he just wouldn't take it, - Wow. wouldn't take the review down, so that's why I'm here. - We're all entitled to our opinions, are we not, Your Honor? - I mean...yes. - Yes! - [Judge] Unfortunately. - I agree with that completely, Your Honor. But I feel like if I could just read some excerpts from the review, - [Judge] Oh please. - I feel like it'll shed some better light on it. - [Judge] Right. - He wrote, "The host greeted me with 'welcome and good afternoon', when it was clearly early evening. When I addressed him down and asked him for a more accurate greeting, he acted out of sorts." - [Judge] Right. I mean, that sounds basically like a non-problem, Mr. O'Flanagan. - It's his job to greet me, is it not? I mean, that colors the entirety of the whole dining experience, is the greeting. - He also wrote, "The decor, which incorporated cool blue colors, clashed abysmally with the food, which had a warm southwestern flair." The result gave me a feeling I could only compare to Andy Dufresne wading his way through the sewers of Shawshank prison." - So, the walls were blue and the food was red and so that made you feel like you were walking through a river of poo? - Have you seen Shawshank Redemption? - I mean, clearly I just referenced it. - It was...ugh, ick! Your Honor... - "Ugh ick?" Oh, boy... - [Judge] Oh, man. - Well he also wrote of the food, "I don't know what rotting human flesh tastes like, but I imagine it's similar to their filet mignon which was slightly dry." We take a lot of pride in our filet mignon, it's one of the best selling items on the menu, And it's just gone downhill since this review. - Why are you writing these awful things!? - It was a horrifying experience! I'm still recovering from it! - Right, and it's not dry! - It was dry. It was slightly dry. - Even if it were just slightly dry, you can't just compare that to rotting human flesh! - I'm just callings 'em how I sees 'em. You know? And I write a lot of Yelp reviews and I put a lot of thought and effort into all of them. - Mr. O'Flanagan has never given more than a one-star review to 273 restaurants that he's reviewed. - [Judge] Woah! - No, that's not true! That's it, you're lying! I gave a five-star review once. - Yeah, you know what it was? It was from a restaurant that burned down. And then he wrote in the comments, "Good riddance!" I'm pretty sure people died in that fire. It was like, on the news. - Yeah, but their salads were soggy though. - Be that as it may, you gave a five-star review of a fire people died in. - It has nothing to do with food, at that point. - Yeah! You're saying fire is good. - Your Honor, it doesn't even stop at Yelp. He left a YouTube comment on a video entitled "Our Daughter's First Steps"... - Hey, he's not allowed, he can't do this! - [Judge] Oh, this is gonna be great. - I did my research, yes I can! - You're not allowed to do this! - Is there gonna be like, some Nazi stuff or something? - And I quote, this is what he wrote, "If that's how she's going to walk, my suggestion would be to drive her to the beach, get her stumbling in the direction of the ocean, and head home." - Woahhh! That is a nightmare! - [O'Flanagan] You should have seen... - How did you even come up with that? - Did you see the video? - What do you mean, did I see the video!? No I didn't see the video, it's just a girl walking - That's how a little person walks! - [Judge] Like a baby walks? - Like how a baby walks for the first time? - It made me sick! I wanted to throw up. - You know, this is what I'm talking about. - I'd actually like to call a witness up to the stand. This is Ryan's former roommate, Ahmed Bharucha. - Hey! - Mr. Bharucha, please come up. - I didn't know we could do this! - [Judge] Hello. Nice to meet you. Thank you for coming. How long were you roommates with Mr. O'Flanagan? - Uh, six of the worst months of my life. - [Judge] Oh, God. - There's no microphone. - What? Oh. Okay. - I actually broke the lease just to get away from him. - [Judge] Wow. - Hey, where've you been? - [Judge] I can guess that. And I would imagine he was not a particularly easy person to live with. - No, actually it was constant criticism and I'm still in therapy for the self-esteem issues he gave me. - There's no microphone there. - [Bharucha] Oh, OK. - Just so you know. - He'd just leave notes all over the house anytime I did anything, giving it a bad review. I cleaned the kitchen and he wrote, "Shoddy, uninspired, and derivative." - Why? - [Bharucha] I don't know. - Why? - [Bharucha] I used bleach, I did all the things. One time I parked slightly off, and he left a note on my car and said "This is why your father left your family." My father did leave my family. - In a parking related problem? - It was in a car. - It was more than slightly off. - Again, someone making a mistake doesn't mean you should abuse them. - I didn't abuse him! - Yeah you did! - Verbally. - That doesn't...that's not a, that doesn't count. - What brought you to writing him a note? - [O'Flanagan] Well... - About that. - 'Cause we're all entitled to our opinion, I read online? - Oh, this is your thing, isn't it? - Once I do an opinion I saw-- - Anytime you ever think anything, you write it down and you put it somewhere for someone to read. You're just mean! You're just mean for no reason to people you don't know, and to people you DO know and claim to love! I'm ruling for the plaintiff, they win, you lose. And your sentence is that you have to take down all of your negative Yelp reviews, all 237, all of your negative Youtube comments, all of the negative notes in your house, all of the negative commentary in your entire life you have to take it down, and you have one month or I will hire a service to forcibly take them down for me. Case closed, get out. Thanks. You guys can stay. - Thank you, Your Honor. - [Judge] You seem nice. - [Robichaud] We can go to the restaurant. - [Judge] Oh, is it close? - [Robichaud] Yeah! - Is the filet mignon like, really good? - [whispering] It is a little dry. - [Judge] Is it a little dry? - Yes, it's a little dry. - How'd you feel about that? - Well, despite the ruling I think I did pretty well in there. I think I was vibrant, and charming and I think that I brought kind of a depth and vulnerability to the performance. So, yeah, I'd give me five stars. - I'd say three and a half. - So how do you two feel about the verdict? - Feel good. I feel like, you know, it's good that we put away a monster like that. - I really liked the part where the judge made fun of Ryan, that was like the best day of my life. - Yeah, that was pretty funny. - Yeah. - Well, that wraps up another episode of Food Court. And just remember: If you leave us a good review, you'll get 20% off your sentence.