William Gee suing over new attorney ad regulations
You’ve seen the commercials. Oil company fat cats plan to withhold payment
in a personal injury case until suddenly discovering that the plaintiff has
hired maritime defense attorney William Gee. Gee’s name is punctuated with an
alarming sound effect and the oil executives quickly decide they’d better
settle this one. Actor Robert Vaughan then appears instructing anyone who’s
been injured offshore to call Gee’s Hurtline. These ads would be prohibited
under new regulations on attorney advertising by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board. That’s prompted Gee, New Orleans attorney Morris Bart and the nonprofit Public Citizen to file suit against the board to halt the rules from taking effect. The suit alleges the regulations
violate First and 14th amendment rights, noting they would ban “a
wide range of common advertising practices, such as the use of testimonials,
actors, re-enactments and dramatizations, that are neither misleading nor
otherwise harmful to consumers and whose prohibition would be unthinkable in
any other field of commerce."
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