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Seaton v. TripAdvisor Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group

Facts of the Case

In Seaton v. TripAdvisor, the plaintiff, Kristie Love, filed a lawsuit against the online travel platform TripAdvisor in 2017. Love’s legal action stemmed from a traumatic experience during her stay at a Mexican resort, where she was assaulted. The central contention in the case was TripAdvisor’s alleged negligence in adequately screening and removing reviews that detailed criminal activities, including rape, at various resorts(Phillip,2023). The critical claim was that had TripAdvisor effectively managed its review system; these reviews could have served as warnings to potential travelers, potentially preventing Love’s assault. Parties are Plaintiff Kristie Love and Defendant TripAdvisor

Motivation for Action

Kristie Love was motivated to take legal action against TripAdvisor due to her personal experience of assault at a Mexican resort. Her motivation was rooted in the belief that TripAdvisor, a prominent travel platform, had a duty to adequately screen and remove reviews pointing to potential criminal activities(Ahmed,2020). Love contended that TripAdvisor’s failure in this regard directly contributed to her assault and potentially put other travelers at risk.

Facts by Level of Importance:

Assault Allegation where Kristie Love experienced a traumatic assault during her stay at a Mexican resort, forming the basis of her legal action. TripAdvisor’s Review System, where the crux of the matter was TripAdvisor’s alleged negligence in screening and removing reviews that detailed criminal activities at resorts. Preventable Warning, where Love argued that TripAdvisor’s proper handling of such studies could have served as warnings to potential travelers, preventing her assault.

Issues Presented

Legal Issue

Did TripAdvisor act negligently in managing its review system, and could it be held legally responsible for the assault experienced by Kristie Love?

Public Policy and Values in Conflict:

What level of responsibility do online platforms bear in ensuring user safety? Should platforms actively moderate and remove content that could pose potential harm to users? They are balancing user privacy and freedom of expression against the duty to prevent possible damage—the tension between online platforms’ role as information facilitators and their responsibility for user safety.

Practical Considerations:

What measures can online travel platforms implement to enhance user safety? How can users be better informed about potential risks when using online media for travel?


Pro-TripAdvisor. Freedom of Expression TripAdvisor may argue that it values users’ freedom to express their opinions and that active moderation could infringe on this right. User Responsibility, where the platform asserts that users should exercise personal responsibility and conduct thorough research before making travel decisions.


Duty of Care, where Kristie Love may argue that, as a platform facilitating travel experiences, TripAdvisor must ensure user safety by actively addressing and preventing potential risks. Preventive Measures Implementing stricter review policies is a proactive step toward preventing harm, aligning with a duty of care for use.

Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group

Facts of the Case

The case in Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group involves employees creating a private MySpace group to discuss work-related issues and share opinions about supervisors. The employees argued that their communication was protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which allows employees to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid and protection(Faith,2019). The central facts include establishing a private online space for employees to express their views on workplace matters. Parties Plaintiffs: Employees of Hillstone Restaurant Group while Defendant: Hillstone Restaurant Group

Motivation for Action

The motivation behind the employees’ action was rooted in their belief that the private MySpace group was a platform for protected discussions under the NLRA. They sought to challenge any adverse employment actions based on their participation in the group, asserting that it was a form of concerted activity protected by labor laws.

Facts by Level of Importance

Private MySpace Group is where employees create a private space on MySpace to discuss work-related issues and share opinions. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), where employees argued that their communication in the MySpace group was protected under the NLRA. Adverse Employment Actions where the employees sought protection against negative employment actions based on their participation in the MySpace group.

Issues Presented

Legal Issue

Did the employees’ communication in the private MySpace group qualify as protected concerted activities under the NLRA? What protection should employees have when discussing work-related issues on private online platforms? How does the NLRA balance employee rights with employers’ interests in maintaining a positive work environment? Balancing the right to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid and protection with the need for employers to maintain discipline and order within the organization(Zae,2023). How can workplaces navigate the evolving landscape of online communication without infringing on employees’ rights? What guidance can the NLRA provide regarding emerging digital communication platforms in the workplace?



NLRA Protection: the employees may argue that their discussions were protected under the NLRA as they pertained to workplace conditions and were for mutual aid and protection. The Private Platform: The fact that the Myspace group was private and not meant for public consumption might strengthen the argument for conservation.


Workplace Discipline The Hill Stone Restaurant Group may argue that specific discussions, even in private groups, can disrupt workplace harmony, and the NLRA should not shield activities that undermine this harmony. Scope of NLRA where the employer might contend that the NLRA protection should be narrowly construed to avoid unintended consequences in digital communication.


Pietro v. Hillstone Restaurant Group revolves around the tension between employees’ rights to discuss workplace issues and employers’ interests in maintaining a positive work environment. The legal issue, grounded in NLRA protection, prompts considerations of how labor laws apply to emerging digital communication platforms. From a legal standpoint, the case highlights the evolving nature of employee rights in online communication. Public policy discussions may revolve around striking a balance between the protection of employee rights and the legitimate interests of employers in maintaining discipline and order. The NLRA’s application to digital platforms introduces complexity, requiring a nuanced understanding of how traditional labor laws translate to the digital age. The workplaces may need to adapt their policies to navigate online communication challenges. Ensuring that employees know their rights and responsibilities in digital spaces becomes crucial. The NLRA can be a foundational guide, but its application may require ongoing interpretation and adaptation to the rapidly changing digital communication landscape. From a Christian perspective, considerations of justice, fairness, and respect for individual rights play a role in evaluating the impact of legal decisions on society. If the effect is unfavorable, recommendations include fostering open communication channels in the workplace while recognizing the need for reasonable limits to maintain a harmonious and productive work environment. Balancing the principles of justice with the practical realities of workplace dynamics is essential for creating an environment that respects both employer and employee interests. The Seaton v. TripAdvisor case highlights the complex interplay between individual rights, corporate responsibilities, and societal safety. From a legal perspective, it prompts reflection on the duty of care online platforms may have toward their users. Public policy discussions must navigate the delicate balance between freedom of expression and preventing potential harm. Practically, the case underscores the importance of proactive measures to enhance user safety on online platforms. From a Christian perspective, considerations of justice, compassion, and the well-being of individuals impacted by such incidents may shape opinions on the societal implications of the case. If the impact is unfavorable, recommendations might involve advocating for responsible content moderation policies, fostering a safety culture, and encouraging user awareness about potential risks in online travel.


Ahmed, S. (2020). Social Media Use in the Public Sector: The Evolving Legal Landscape & Unique Challenges. feedback10(1).

Faith Hochberg, D. J. (2019, September 25). Pietrylo v. Hillstone Restaurant Group. Legal research tools from Casetext.

Phillips, T. W. (2021, August 22). Seaton v. TripAdvisor, LLC. Legal research tools from Casetext.

Zai, M. E. A., Samim, A., & Sadat, B. (2023). The Role of Using Social Networking Sites to Achieve Competitive Advantage in the Tourism Companies in Afghanistan Botswana. Journal on Vulnerable Community Development1(1).


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