Virginia Daycare Sues Mom For Bad Yelp Review

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Virginia daycare is suing a mother-of-three for leaving a negative review on Yelp.

Rebecca Gonzalez was an active parent at Horizon Child Development Center in Fairfax until her son allegedly came home with a bruise on his face.

Gonzalez told NBC News4 that she gave the daycare and school a negative review in order to protect other parents from the same experience.

"I felt like it was my responsibility as a mom," she said.

Her review claimed the daycare owner was abusive towards children:

"Please do not send your child to this daycare. The owner of the daycare Sonya (sic) Jackson is extremely mean to children.... My son came home with a bruise (sic) ear.... We do not know what happened when that lady took him to her office ... and we will never know.... I exposed my own child to the physical and verbal abuse of this lady."

The co-owners of the daycare, Sonjia Jackson and her husband Jimmy Jackson, hired an attorney to ask Gonzalez to remove the post.

"I was shocked, embarrassed, offended," Sonjia Jackson said of the review.

Jimmy Jackson said they were trying to refinance the business to secure a lower interest rate, but even the bank raised concerns about the review.

Gonzalez modified her review but did not delete it entirely.

"She should be entitled to express her views, even if they're negative, and even if the daycare center doesn't like them," said Gonzalez's attorney Lee Berlik.

When the Jacksons filed suit for $75,000, Gonzalez removed the post but the Jacksons refused to drop the suit.

“You have to be held accountable, especially in this case, when the statements were made for the intent of injuring, damaging, embarrassing and humiliating my client," said the Jacksons’ attorney Dena Roudyboush.

Court papers filed by Roudyboush say Gonzalez was an active parent at the daycare until her son assaulted other children and was placed in time out. The Jacksons claim that Gonzalez’s son was never verbally or physically abused at Horizon Center.

Berlik filed court documents stating that his client has a First Amendment right to post a negative review and that the Jacksons do not have enough evidence "to support a claim for emotional distress."

Both parties are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Sources: NBC News4,