SEATTLE, WA–(Marketwire – December 18, 2007) – In this opinion the U.S. District Court in Seattle, WA dismissed the class action complaint filed in June 2007 against nascent attorney-portal and rating site Avvo with prejudice. This blog has been following Avvo, and the Brown lawsuit, since its inception. Ironically, the suit probably drew more attention to Avvo than the site would have otherwise attracted. Take that Counselor.
In its motion to dismiss Avvo argued that its publication of attorney disciplinary information and the opinions of clients and colleagues, as well as its own numerical rating, constituted protected speech. The Court agreed, stating that all of the foregoing “are absolutely protected by the First Amendment and cannot serve as the basis for liability under state law.” In short, lawyers now have to take it as well as they give it out.
Avvo CEO Mark Britton, a lawyer himself, says Attorneys in the jurisdictions in which Avvo operates (currently Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington) had “better not pout, better not cry, better not shout I’m telling you why – Avvo-Clause is coming to town … to eat your lunch if you don’t come clean with clients.” Ed. Note. That quote may not have actually been from Mark Britton.
See other Avvo articles on the pm blog