New York City physician sues former patient for $1M over negative Yelp review

Joon Song, MD, an OB-GYN in New York City, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against a former patient who posted negative reviews of the physician online, according to CBS New York.

The former patient, Michelle Levine, visited Dr. Song once in August for an annual exam. After the visit, Ms. Levine claims she was billed for an "ultrasound and a new patient visit" when she should have been billed for an annual exam. Ms. Levine said she did receive an ultrasound, but she did not learn until after her visit that an ultrasound is not part of an annual exam, according to Newsweek

Ms. Levine said she complained to Dr. Song's office, but the bill was not corrected. Ms. Levine then left critical reviews of the office's business practices on various websites, including Yelp, Zocdoc and Healthgrades. In her initial Yelp review, Ms. Levine said she was the victim of "medical billing fraud." She also referred to Dr. Song as a "crook" and "scam artist" in the reviews, according to Newsweek

In a comment response to one of Ms. Levine's reviews, Dr. Song's office said Ms. Levine complained of "acute and worrisome symptoms" which required additional medical evaluation that superseded the annual checkup, according to Newsweek

Ms. Levine took down all of the negative reviews after Dr. Song sued her for defamation, libel and emotional distress. 

In a statement to CBS New York, Dr. Song's lawyer said, "While everyone is entitled to their opinion, outright lies masquerading as reviews can inflict serious damage to a medical practice or small business."

A Yelp spokesperson told CBS New York it generally encourages businesses to resolve issues directly with reviewers instead of through litigation.

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