- University of Cincinnati College of Law, J.D., 2008, cum laude
- University of Dayton, B.A., 2005, magna cum laude
Bar & Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
Colleen is a partner in the Vorys Cincinnati office and the co-leader of the firm’s internet defamation group. The group has worked on hundreds of internet related cases from across the country and develops unique solutions for companies and professionals that are being damaged or attacked online.
Colleen has experience in all aspects of this new area of law including internet defamation, fraudulent reviews, false advertising, traffic diversion, product diversion, trademark infringement, copyright infringement and cyber harassment. Colleen also has experience in defending corporations in False Claims Act cases, RICO cases, and class actions.
Her notable experience includes:
- Obtaining court orders resulting in the removal of false statements and false reviews on various consumer websites and from Google’s search indices related to businesses and high profile business employees
- Removing multiple websites from the internet containing false and damaging information about clients
- Obtaining court orders mandating forensic examinations of individuals’ computers, resulting in the obtaining of case-changing evidence
- Removing fraudulent and impersonating social media pages damaging business clients from the Internet
- Successfully obtaining the identities of anonymous people posting false information and reviews on the internet, including from websites Ripoff Report, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Craigslist, Pissed Consumer
- Obtaining court orders authorizing cable service providers to provide personally-identifying information regarding its subscribers
- Winning orders denying objections to subpoenas to identify anonymous people posting false information on the internet
Colleen is a contributor to the Internet Defamation Removal Attorneys blog, which provides readers with helpful information regarding internet issues and strategies for removing damaging content. She has co-authored several articles regarding strategies for the removal of defamatory content on the internet and has presented similar topics. Colleen frequently presents webinars focusing on how to protect your company’s brand identity online.
Colleen received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Dayton.
Honors & Awards
- Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars, Litigation, 2014-2016
- 1/8/2017Devanney Quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer Story Titled “How An Online Callout Cost 2 OTR Bar Workers Their Jobs”Colleen Devanney, a partner in the Vorys Cincinnati office and the co-leader of the firm’s internet defamation group, was quoted in a Cincinnati Enquirer story titled “How An Online Callout Cost 2 OTR Bar Workers Their Jobs.”
- 1/3/2017Vorys announced that Michael J. Ball, Colleen M. Devanney, J.B. Lind, Natalie M. McLaughlin, Martha Brewer Motley, Adam J. Rocco, Benjamin A. Shepler and Nancy Nicole Workman have been named partners of the firm.
- 10/12/2016Devanney Joins Refresh Your Wealth Radio Show to Discuss How to Protect Your Online Reputation and Remove Defamatory MaterialColleen Devanney, an associate in the Vorys Cincinnati office and the co-leader of the firm’s internet defamation group, was a guest on Refresh Your Wealth Radio Show.
- 1/28/2016Devanney Quoted in the Bloomberg BNA: Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct Story Titled “Court Affirms $350k Verdict for Lawyer Smeared on Avvo”Colleen Devanney, an associate in the Vorys Cincinnati office and a member of the litigation group, was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA: Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct story titled “Court Affirms $350k Verdict for Lawyer Smeared on Avvo.”
- 12/2/2015Vorys is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys from the firm have been named 2016 Ohio Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.
- 12/3/2014Vorys is pleased to announce that 74 attorneys from the firm have been named 2015 Ohio Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.
- 12/4/2013Eighty-one attorneys from Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP have been named 2014 Ohio Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. 57 Vorys attorneys were named 2014 Ohio Super Lawyer and 24 Vorys attorneys were named 2014 Ohio Rising Stars.
- 11/17/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented a webinar titled “How to Remove Defamation and Other Damaging Content from the Internet ” hosted by the Clear Water Institute on November 17, 2016.
- 11/15/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney participated in a webinar titled “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Navigating the New World of Online Reviews” hosted by the American Bar Association on November 15, 2016.
- 10/18/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented a webinar titled “How to Remove Defamation and Other Damaging Content from the Internet ” hosted by Lorman Education on October 18, 2016.
- 7/27/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented a webinar titled “How to Remove Defamation, Negative Reviews, and Other Damaging Content from the Internet” hosted by Clear Law Institute on July 27, 2016.
- 5/12/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented at the Internet Law Leadership Summit on May 12, 2016.
- 5/5/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney was a speakers at the Ohio Association for Justice 2016 Annual Convention on May 5, 2016.
- 4/21/2016Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce hosted a half-day program focused on labor and employment updates.
- 4/8/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented a webinar titled “How to Remove Defamation and Other Damaging Content from the Internet” hosted by Lorman Education on April 8, 2016.
- 2/18/2016Vorys attorney Colleen Devanney presented a webinar titled “How to Remove Defamation, Negative Reviews, and Other Damaging Content from the Internet” hosted by Clear Law Institute on February 18, 2016.
- 11/10/2016When unidentified individuals defame businesses or professionals online, the harmed parties can potentially serve subpoenas on relevant entities for documents containing identifying information about the authors of the online defamation.
- 10/24/2016When people want to learn about a product, service, company or professional, they often go straight to the internet. And, unsurprisingly, a large percentage of people are going directly to search engines.
- 9/29/2016It is generally difficult to convince a website to remove defamatory third-party content without a court order.
- 9/15/2016How Not to Deal With Negative Online Reviews: Addressing Online Criticism in Light of Pending Federal Legislation on Non-Disparagement ClausesOn Tuesday, Sept. 12, the House of Representatives passed H.R.5111, better known as the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016.
- 8/31/2016We have written about subpoenaing internet service providers (ISPs) for identifying information relating to internet protocol (IP) addresses used by their subscribers. In that post, we mentioned that securing identifying information from cable operator ISPs generally requires obtaining a court order authorizing disclosure of the subscriber information.
- 8/10/2016Ordinarily, serving a subpoena to identify an anonymous internet poster requires first filing a lawsuit. In fact, we have published several posts about using subpoenas to identify unknown authors of internet defamation and have explained that the first step in the process is filing a complaint against the unknown poster.
- 7/20/2016Professionals and companies are being harmed online and on social media in a number of ways. One increasingly common form of online harassment is impersonation of the person (or company) that the harasser is intending to harm through the creation of fake public personas on social media platforms or websites.
- 7/11/2016Online reviews affect nearly every industry, and health care is certainly one of them. What differentiates health care, in this context, is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA.
- 6/28/2016A California appellate court recently affirmed a lower court’s decision to require Yelp to remove three defamatory reviews. The First Appellate District did, however, remand the case to the trial court to narrow the terms of the removal order, which ordered Yelp to also remove potential future reviews.
- 6/17/2016Most businesses and professionals defamed on the internet simply want the false content removed. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to obtain removal, one of which is through a court order.
- 5/31/2016The majority of online defamation is posted anonymously or pseudonymously. Thus, many cases require issuing subpoenas—including to internet service providers (ISPs)—to identify the unknown posters.
- 5/18/2016There are a number of ways in which one can respond to internet defamation. There are also a number of ways not to respond.
- 4/27/2016For businesses forced to deal with internet defamation, in our experience removal of the harmful content is generally the best solution.
- 4/8/2016One of the more prominent consumer complaint websites out there is ComplaintsBoard.com.
- 3/23/2016Employers are vulnerable to being the targets of negative online and social media postings, and sometimes these statements can give rise to defamation claims. However, an employer considering suing a current or former employee for internet defamation must be careful if the (ex-)employee recently engaged in protected activity.
- 2/16/2016Employers Must Be Careful Using Non-Disparagement Clauses to Discourage Employees’ Negative Online and Social Media PostsIn recent years, there has been backlash against non-disparagement clauses pertaining to online reviews, specifically those attempting to restrict honest—albeit negative—feedback about companies. In fact, California passed a law in August 2014 prohibiting anti-negative review policies, while the Federal Trade Commission filed its first ever lawsuit over similar non-disparagement clauses last September.
- 7/10/2014Attorneys from the Vorys internet defamation group authored a Subpoena Guide to help attorneys navigate the complex process of issuing such subpoenas to websites and internet service providers in order to identify anonymous online attackers.
- 4/14/2014It is not uncommon for people to create fake social media profiles of celebrities and other public figures. Unfortunately, some people also imitate non-public figures, often for harassment purposes. This is especially problematic on Facebook, which refers to these accounts as “impostor Timelines.”
- 3/6/2014Internet Defamation Removal and the Known Defamer: How Knowing the Identity of a Defamer Changes the Court Order TechniqueDefamatory content posted online can significantly harm the reputation of a business or individual, especially when it is listed among top search engine results.
- 3/3/2014The problem for the individuals upset with TheDirty.com (that want to sue the owner) is that ythe owner is not the speaker of these controversial statements. Rather, other people (members of the so-called “Dirty Army”) submit the content to him directly through his website or via email.
- 2/28/2014All too often, dishonest companies damage their competitors’ reputations online by making a series of false statements on review-based websites. Competitors regularly seek refuge on websites such as Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp, which are structured such that users can anonymously post false reviews.
- 2/26/2014Since launching the internet defamation group, we have encountered several misconceptions about the removal of information from the internet. If you or your company has been disparaged online, realize you are not helpless and have several options on how to deal with your potential internet crisis.
- 2/24/2014Based on the negative impact on its business, a company may initially believe certain statements or information posted about it online are defamatory. Although the content may be very damaging, it might not be defamatory at all.
- 2/21/2014Pissed Consumer, as the name suggests, has become a destination for disgruntled consumers to share their unpleasant experiences with various products or services. In fact, the website reports having more than a quarter million reviews about 40,000-plus companies spanning 120 industries.
- 2/20/2014Companies often instruct individual employees to register domain names for the construction of a website on the companies’ behalf. In these instances, the employee will enter his or her own name as the domain registrant, thereby giving the employee administrative control over the domain.
- 2/17/2014Craigslist has become an invaluable resource for people in the U.S. and across the world to advertise services, sell products and even meet like-minded people. Although a large majority of Craigslist users utilize the classified ads website for legitimate transactions or interactions, some use it to advance their own interests by exploiting others and interfering with legitimate business relationships.
- 2/12/2014Whether it is on Facebook, Instagram, or another popular website, many people today love sharing photographs about themselves and their whereabouts. But legal issues often arise when a person uploads or posts photos (or videos) of someone else – especially when they involve nudity or are otherwise sexual in nature.
- 2/10/2014On the popular business review website Yelp, it is no secret that many individuals post fake reviews and sometimes defamatory content. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Yelp cannot be held liable for false or defamatory statements made by its users.
- 2/6/2014A positive about Yelp is that content can be removed and, thus, the impact it may have on businesses can be mitigated. This alert outlines the options available to businesses.
- 2/5/2014Wikipedia is home to more than 30 million articles and has nearly 80,000 active contributors, according to the website. These figures are a product of its “openly editable model,” where virtually anyone with internet access can add or edit content on the website. The online encyclopedia’s strength relies in its founders giving their power to the people, but in doing so they opened the door to abuse.
- 1/31/2014Everyone has heard the saying “the customer is always right.” Taken a bit out of context, this seems to ring true on consumer complaint website Ripoff Report – even when one of its users is completely in the wrong, by posting false and defamatory information about a business.