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Suspension recommended for South Florida attorney accused of misconduct in insurance suits

Suspension recommended for South Florida attorney accused of misconduct in insurance suits

A Coral Springs-based attorney accused of misconduct while pursuing thousands of cases against Florida insurance companies should be found guilty and suspended from practice for two years, a referee recommended after an eight-day trial.

The state Supreme Court has final say for how Scot Strems will ultimately be punished. The Florida Bar, which petitioned for an emergency suspension that began on June 9, argued that Strems should be disbarred.

Property insurers saw the Strems suspension and trial as vindicating their often-voiced stance that misconduct by a dozen or so law firms, which they call “bad actors,” are abusing the court system by bombarding insurers with lawsuits that drive up insurance costs for consumers.

Strems Law Firm P.A., they say, is among a dozen or so firms operating as lawsuit mills that target insurers, often without the knowledge of property owners named as plaintiffs, to generate lucrative legal fees worth many times more than the home repairs in dispute.

Strems’ firm, which employed 20 attorneys in six offices across the state, filed 8,756 suits against property insurers before his emergency suspension. Of them, nearly 5,000 were filed in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

The Oct. 8 recommendation by the referee in the proceedings against Strems, Judge Dawn Denaro of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami, followed a trial that lasted from Sept. 8 to 16.

Denaro found in September that the Bar had proven Strems and his firm violated 11 rules that govern attorneys’ behavior in the state. They include a rule barring attorneys from engaging in dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, or from knowingly filing evidence known to be false.

Strems also violated rules requiring attorneys to represent clients with reasonable diligence and promptness, Denaro found.

Between 2016 and 2018, Strems’ firm had about 700 cases “which was

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Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp rolls out new tactic to warn consumers about businesses accused of ‘overtly racist actions’

Yelp has a zero tolerance policy for racism.

The company, which publishes and aggregates crowd-sourced business reviews, announced Thursday it will be placing a new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” on Yelp pages to warn users about businesses that have been said to display “overtly racist actions.” They will also include a direct link to a news article for consumers to learn more about the reported incident.

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“We know these values are important to our users and now more than ever, consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize and support,” Noorie Malik, vice president of user operations, wrote in a blog post. “In fact, we’ve seen that reviews mentioning Black-owned businesses were up more than 617% this summer compared to last summer. Support for women-owned businesses has also increased, with review mentions up 114% for the same time period.”

Malik said that as the nation continues to be affected by systemic racism, Yelp feels an obligation to help consumers make better decisions before spending their hard-earned dollars with businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions.

“So far in 2020, we’ve seen a 133% increase in the number of media-fueled incidences on Yelp compared to the same time last year,” said Malik.


Malik wrote that between May 26, a day after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, and September 30, a week after the Breonna Taylor verdict was announced, Yelp has placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of or the target of racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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New Yelp Policy Will Flag Businesses Accused of Racism

New Yelp Policy Will Flag Businesses Accused of Racism

Yelp  (YELP) – Get Report rolled out a new feature Friday that will alert users when an establishment has been associated with what the review site called “egregious, racially charged actions.” 

The San Francisco company’s site enables users to rank and comment about businesses.

“As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, we’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions,” the company said in a statement. 

A banner with a red exclamation point and a tile of “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” will appear under a business where “someone associated with this business was accused of racist behavior.”

The banner also will say whether the racist behavior resulted in an influx of people posting their views to a business’s Yelp page. Those negative reviews must reflect actual first-hand customer experiences, the company said. 

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To protect against what it calls “media-fueled reviews,” it will require that user experiences be first-hand accounts of racist behavior. 

Yelp reported seeing more than a doubling of of media-fueled “incidences” on the site so far in 2020. 

From May 26 through Sept. 30 the company placed more than 450 alerts on business pages that were either accused of, or the target of, “racist behavior related to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Once Yelp notices an unusual spike in activity on a business’s Yelp page, the company’s moderators investigate and temporarily disable content, as they place an alert warning users that some reviews may not be based on first-hand experiences. 

When allegations of racism are present, the company will default to a general public attention alert and will escalate that banner

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Yelp’s new labels will warn you if a business has been accused of racism

Yelp’s new labels will warn you if a business has been accused of racism

Yelp wants to help its users make better decisions about the places they’re looking up and is rolling out a new feature today that will alert people if a business has been associated with “egregious, racially-charged actions.” These labels will be added to pages that see a rise in reviews based on what people have seen in the news or social media rather than first-hand experiences. Yelp will also include a link to an article explaining more about the incident that caused the business to catch attention for racist conduct. The labels don’t just tell you about places accused of racism — they’ll also alert you to those who were victims of it.

Yelp said its user operations team has already been placing these alerts based on an increase in the number of reviews citing news or social media, so these new labels aren’t an entirely new concept. The difference is that the company will now flag places that have been accused of using racist language or symbols and other such actions.

When it first notices a person associated with a business has been a target or accused of racism, Yelp will add a Public Attention Alert to that company’s page “to warn consumers that the business may be receiving an influx of reviews as a result of increased attention.” If a business has been accused of “overtly racist actions, where we can link to a news article,” Yelp will use its “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” label instead.

Yelp is relying on news and social media reports in this process partly to warn people about the possible influx of fake reviews affecting a business’ ratings in these situations. “It’s always been Yelp’s policy that all reviews must be based on actual first-hand consumer experiences with the business,” the company

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Yelp says it will alert users of businesses accused of racist behavior

Yelp says it will alert users of businesses accused of racist behavior

  • Yelp will now flag businesses that have been accused of “overt” racism as a warning to users. 
  • The “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” will feature a red icon that will appear at the top of the page for the business and a news article would be linked to the accused businesses. 
  • The measure is in response to an increase in the number of reviews warning of racist behavior at local businesses in the past few months. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Yelp announced on Thursday that it would flag businesses that have been accused of “overt” racism as a warning to users. 

“We’re announcing a new consumer alert to stand against racism. In the last few months, we’ve seen that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions,” the company said in a tweet

The company said the “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert” will feature a red icon that will appear at the top of the page for the business, and a news article would be linked so users can “learn more.”

“Communities have always turned to Yelp in reaction to current events at the local level. As the nation reckons with issues of systemic racism, we’ve seen in the last few months that there is a clear need to warn consumers about businesses associated with egregious, racially-charged actions to help people make more informed spending decisions,” Noorie Malik, Yelp’s vice president of user operations said in an announcement of the new policy. 

The company said it saw an increase in the number of reviews warning of racist behavior at businesses in the last few months as the “nation reckons with issues of systemic racism.”

Protests erupted across the US

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