Attorney Frank Azar has been a familiar face on Colorado’s advertising landscape for the past three decades. However, Azar now finds himself embroiled in a legal battle with an out-of-state competitor who he claims is using deceptive practices to poach his clients. Let’s dig into the details and uncover the truth behind this legal arm-wrestle.
The Allegations: Deceptive Ads Targeting Azar’s Clients
Azar has filed a lawsuit in Pueblo District Court against the Alabama-based Slocumb Law Firm. He alleges that Slocumb is creating misleading advertisements on Google, leading customers to believe they are contacting Franklin D. Azar & Associates when, in reality, they are reaching Slocumb’s firm. According to Azar’s claims, Slocumb’s firm purchases Google ad keywords and uses metadata to ensure their ads appear when users search for Azar or his famous slogan, “The Strong Arm.” The lawsuit further asserts that the call center operators associated with Slocumb’s ads fail to correct callers’ misconception and allow them to believe they have reached Azar’s Aurora-based firm.
This is not the first time Slocumb has faced similar accusations. Court records reveal that he has been sued by other high-profile personal injury attorneys in multiple states over the past four years. Attorneys like Jim Adler, known as “The Texas Hammer,” Matt Abbot, nicknamed “The Outlawyer,” and Louisiana attorney Morris Bart, famous for his tagline “One call, that’s all,” have made similar complaints against Slocumb.
The Stakes: Reputation, Money, and Ethics
“The money at stake here is absolutely unbelievable,” Azar asserted in an interview. He feels that his reputation within the community, his advertising efforts, and the trust of the public are being exploited by Slocumb’s firm. On the other hand, Slocumb has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that bidding on a name through Google AdWords is a common practice and not improper in any way.
The Legal Perspective: Trademarks, Copyrights, and Consumer Deception
Slocumb’s attorneys argue that the tactics employed by the firm, including purchasing keywords to display separate and distinct advertisements from the searched term on Google, have been upheld by courts across the country. This practice of using a competitor’s keywords to bring up another company’s advertisement online is relatively common and generally not considered copyright infringement. However, deliberately confusing and misleading consumers is illegal. This is precisely what Azar alleges in his lawsuit, stating that Slocumb’s ads direct users to a call center run by The Injury Solution LLC, which further misleads clients into thinking they have reached Azar’s firm.
The Battle Ahead: Uphill Road for Azar
Denver intellectual and commercial litigation attorney Thomas Howard believes that Azar faces a challenging legal battle. Proving actual damages suffered by his firm due to Slocumb’s advertising scheme will be difficult. Howard describes the practice of advertising on Google using another company’s keywords as “sleazy” and “underhanded.” However, he emphasizes that it will require substantial evidence to make a convincing argument in court.
Azar estimates he loses between 50 and 80 potential clients a month to Slocumb’s advertising scheme. For him, these potential clients could translate into millions of dollars in settlements. On the other hand, Slocumb maintains that his approach has never been effective, refraining from providing further details.
Frank Azar finds himself engaged in a legal arm-wrestle with the Slocumb Law Firm, alleging deceptive practices that harm his reputation and poach his clients. While Slocumb denies any wrongdoing, the courtroom will be the ultimate arbiter in determining the legality and ethics of these practices. As the battle unfolds, the outcomes could have far-reaching implications for online advertising strategies and the protection of consumers against deceptive practices.
This article was brought to you by Petstheworld.com.