Monday, January 11, 2016

Supreme Court Suspends Indianapolis Attorney For Advertisement Claiming He's Been "Screwing Banks Since 1992"

Lawyer advertising is an area where the Indiana Supreme Court has shown a willingness to aggressively pursue disciplinary actions against some lawyers it believes run afoul with the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct. A perfect example of that is a decision released today by the Supreme Court where it announced an Indianapolis attorney whose Yellow Page advertisement stated he had been "screwing banks since 1992" was being suspended from the practice of law for 30 days. Specifically, the advertisement for his bankruptcy practice contained the following statements:
(1) “Screwing Banks Since 1992”; (2) “Keep your property”; (3) “Stop wage garnishments”; (4) “Stop home foreclosure”; and (5) “Stop vehicle repossession.” 
The Supreme Court determined the advertising statements contained in Brent Welke's ad violated Rule 7.1, "which prohibits making false or misleading communications about the lawyer or the lawyer's services, including a communication that contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law or omits a fact necessary to make a statement considered as a whole not materially misleading." It's not clear which of the statements offended the Court most. Obviously, a bankruptcy attorney can't make blanket statements about what he can do, such as ensuring the debtor gets to keep his property, stop a home foreclosure or prevent a vehicle from being repossessed. The "screwing banks" claim seems to be more of a statement of opinion of what the attorney does, even if offensive to some.

I've watched a lot of commercials for attorneys on TV that I find equally as offensive, if not misleading, particularly with law firms' claims about their dealings with insurance companies. For some reason, those ads are deemed okay. I also don't understand why attorneys are allowed to advertise that they are a "Super Lawyer," a totally bogus designation a private publication confers on lawyers in exchange for lawyer-paid advertising in its publication.


Anonymous said...

Found guilty of fabricating outside of the courtroom.

Anonymous said...

I really like it when the Hammer has monkeys in his ads. Doesn't offend me. And its hard to believe that questionably tasteful advertising could make me think less of lawyers than I already do. I'm a successful businessman with as much formal education as a lawyer receives. But I find them less honest than used car salesmen. Especially in Indiana. If the Supreme Court wants to promote lawyer credibility, why do they let lawyers like Brizzi and Massillamany keep their licenses. And why does a guy like Grand operate with impunity when he insinuates his firm into every aspect of city/county business. You can't live in Indianapolis without knowing person after person that has been ripped off by local lawyers. And that certainly includes the general taxpaying public, as bond deals are rolled over with huge fees for lawyers, and Indianapolis pays outside firms gross amounts of fees when the city has its own staff counsel. I just think the subject of attorney advertising is a chuckle. Really? That's what offends the disciplinary commission. That some random lawyer says he can screw the banks and debt collectors. I wish somebody would advertise their ability to screw the insurance companies, because they operate with impunity. Try to sue one of them in small claims court and see how fast they bump you up into pricey courts with paid for judges. There's a lot wrong with the lawyers in Indianapolis. And most people believe the Judges are on the take, between the slating and the fundraising and the contributions. But if they want to clean up the monkey ads so we'll respect them more,they're not fooling anybody. I wouldn't buy a used car from a lawyer in this town. Hogsett is supposed to be the white knight, riding in here to clean up the corrupt business as usual, right? We'll see how long it takes him to be seduced to the dark side. It didn't take Ballard long at all.