VIRGINIA

Contractor, customer sue and countersue over comments on Yelp

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(WJLA) - A trial is now underway in Fairfax that could change how people rate businesses online.

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A woman is defending herself against a lawsuit filed by a contractor she criticized on Yelp.

Christopher Dietz is the contractor who reconnected with his high school friend on Facebook.

In June 2011, he began work on Jane Perez's Fairfax County townhouse.

But she claimed the work was poorly done -- doors off hinges, shoddy window work, gouges in floors.

And she posted negative reviews online at both Yelp and Angie's List.

Now Dietz is suing her for $750,000.

In opening statements, his attorney claimed Perez went too far, saying that Dietz "lost out on contracts...he had to justify himself to other customers because of what they read online."

But Perez is countersuing, saying the contractor's rebuttals he posted on those same websites called her a liar.

In court, her attorney told the jury the retired Air Force captain, who needs security clearances, hasn't been able to find work for a year and a half.

"Her life has been turned upside down...because of what he did."

Now it's the jury's job to sort it all out.

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