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Florida law firm ad wins approval Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP)-The 1-800-PITBULL ad can stay. Broward County Court Judge William Herring ruled that a Fort Lauderdale law firm can advertise its controversial phone number and display a logo of a spike-collared pit pull despite objections from the Florida Bar. Herring said the Pape & Chandler law firm’s television commercials fall under constitutionally protected free speech. He rejected the Florida Bar’s assertions that capitalizing on the image of “a ferocious animal” in the commercials is manipulative and violates state laws regulating legal advertisements. Herring said the qualities the lawyers link to pit bulls are “desirable traits in attorneys.” The law firm, which specializes in motorcycle crash litigation, has spent the last three years defending its use of the 1-800-PITBULL phone number. Attorney John Pape said the logo was symbolic of their firm’s “loyalty to our clients and to each other and tenacity, determination and aggressiveness in representing our injured clients.” However, Florida Bar attorney Randi Klayman Lazarus wrote that the pit bull “represents a ferocious animal that inspires heart-throbbing fear.” State Representative David Simmons, R-Longwood, said that the 1-800-PITBULL commercials led him to introduce legislation this year targeting undignified attorneys’ advertisements that he thinks wrongly encourage people to file lawsuits. The bill passed in Florida’s House but died in the state Senate. The Florida Bar filed two complaints in January with the Florida Supreme Court over the advertisements, and Herring was assigned to referee the cases. The bar group now must choose whether it will appeal Herring’s decision to the Florida Supreme Court.

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