NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – An Horry County restaurant owner has filed a lawsuit against a customer for slander and libel, claiming a false Facebook review damaged the restaurant’s reputation.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are listed as High Hook, LLC, which does business as Buoys on The Boulevard, and Weldon Boyd. The defendant is listed as Doreen Gale-Alfano.
The lawsuit says Boyd purchased the restaurant formerly known as “Buoys Beach Bar & Grille” around March 2018 and the business name was changed to “Buoys on the Boulevard.”
“Prior to the Sale Transaction, the previous owner of the restaurant disbursed coupons to potential customers for ‘Lunch or Dinner for 2 Up to $30.00,’ the coupon of which clearly stated that it was associated with the ‘Grand Strand Dining Group Family of Restaurants,’ including ‘Buoys Beach Bar & Grille’,” claims the lawsuit.
Gale-Alfano and a man reportedly came to the restaurant “on or about October, 31, 2018,” the lawsuit says. “Defendant then presented the coupon in an attempt to order food, at which point Plaintiffs’ employees explained that the restaurant was under new ownership, that it was not the same entity, and that they could not honor the coupon.”
The lawsuit also says employees reportedly offered to not charge for drinks already ordered “as a good faith effort to satisfy their customer even though Plaintiffs had no obligation to do so.” Gale-Alfano allegedly stated to a manager “that if they did not honor the coupon she would destroy their reputation.”
Employees also reportedly informed Gale-Alfano she could use the coupon at another local restaurant “as stated on the coupon,” adds the lawsuit.
“Defendant and the gentleman she came with left without receiving or eating any food at Buoys and checked into another local restaurant approximately seven (7) minutes later on Facebook,” the lawsuit further claims. “On or about November 1, 2018, Defendant falsely posted on Buoy’s Facebook page a one star review stating “Awful food….found a worm in my sushi. Also had a fast crawling bug on the wall. The Junga game is a germ carrier. Go and enjoy if you don’t care cuz the new owner doesn’t at all.”
The following causes of action are included in the lawsuit: defamation (libel), defamation (libel per se), defamation (slander), defamation (slander per se), and injurious falsehood.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are asking for the post to be removed from Facebook and “preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.”
News13 has reached out to Gale-Alfano for comment but she has not yet responded.
The full lawsuit can be read here.