Can Inflating Jury Verdicts and Settlements Injure More than Just Your Reputation? Kansas Law Firm Sues Competitor For False Advertising
It’s not every day that a law firm sues a competing firm for false advertising. Earlier this month, however, a Wichita, Kansas personal injury law firm did just that. Brave Law Firm sued rival firm Truck Accident Lawyer’s Group and allegedly related entities in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, alleging violations of the Lanham Act and other causes of action.
Brave Law Firm alleges that since 2007 the defendants have falsely advertised high-dollar verdicts and settlements they claim to have obtained for clients in various personal injury law suits. The advertisements at issue include television, print and phone book ads, as well as website content, “pay-per-click” advertising and direct mail brochures.
For example, Brave Law Firm’s complaint alleges that in one advertisement, defendants claimed to have recovered $2,400,000 for a client in a “[t]ractor-trailer accident involving extreme injuries and/or resulting in death or disfigurement,” but claims that the actual recovery was just $387,018. In another advertisement, defendants allegedly stated that they obtained a jury verdict of $4,100,000 and a punitive damages award of $2,500,000 for a client in a personal injury case but according to the complaint, the recovery was just $850,000 and the jury did not award any punitive damages.
The complaint also alleges that defendants “advertised purported settlements that never happened.” In one such instance, defendants allegedly advertised that they settled a case for $9,000,000, but according to the complaint, the client fired defendants prior to the settlement and the settlement actually was obtained by another lawyer.
Defendants have not yet answered the complaint or moved to dismiss, so it remains to be seen how they will respond to the accusations.
Sara Schlafstein contributed to this article.