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The controversy began in 2010, when Lee went into Makhnevich’s office for a scheduled dentist’s appointment. Bleary from pain, Lee claimed he was told he had to sign several papers, including a “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy,” before being treated.
The form required Lee to agree not to publish any commentary or write anything disparaging about his experience with Makhnevich. While Lee said he was hesitant to sign such a form, he claimed he was in severe pain and, therefore, gave in to the requirements.
Lee received a bill for $4,766 for the dental work, according to Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. Lee reportedly asked the dentist to send the necessary paperwork to his insurance company, but she sent it to the wrong company. When he asked for the forms to submit them himself, Makhnevich’s office apparently refused to hand them over and referred him to a third party that required five percent of the total bill for its services.
Lee then received a letter from the dentist demanding that he delete the post, warning him that he violated the agreement and threatening to sue for breach of contract.
The sites refused to take down the negative reviews, but Makhneich reportedly claimed that a copyright clause gave her ownership of the harsh words. She then sent Lee an invoice for $100 for each day the criticism remained online.