by Paul Alan Levy
I blogged here last month about a peculiar pro se lawsuit and consent order which, in retrospect, has all the hallmarks of a sloppy effort by some blackhat SEO outfit trying to help a dentai client, Mitul Patel, rid the Internet of pesky consumer criticisms. As the Streisand Effect engulfed his client in a wave of publicity, Patel's lawyer proclaimed that Patel had had no involvement in the filing of a lawsuit that could benefit only himself; but he admitted as well that his client had hired a reputation management company and said that he was investigating whether that company might have been responsible. Yelp itself never took down the consumer's critical review, and Kudzu restored the review after I reached out to its management. Patel's lawyer, though, has never responded to me about the fruits of his investigation.
However, the consumer has now filed a pro se motion in the circuit court for Baltimore City to vacate the judgment against him. I, for my part, have asked Patel's lawyer to preserve all records of Patel's relationship with the reputation management company, because I suspect, based on information helpfully supplied by Adam Steinbaugh over at Popehat, that the Baltimore proceeding on behalf of Patel is part of a larger pattern of abuse by an as-yet-identified operation. I hope to have more specifics to announce about that shortly.