A federal judge has cleared Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Jeffrey Rosenbaum’s false advertising suit against Morgan & Morgan to proceed, but dismissed claims against several of Morgan & Morgan’s individual lawyers.
U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss by Orlando-based Morgan & Morgan and its senior partner John Morgan.
Rosenbaum’s suit, filed in federal court in Philadelphia in September, alleges that Morgan & Morgan’s ubiquitous ads are deceptive because the firm doesn’t represent clients in Pennsylvania and draws away potential clients from Rosenbaum & Associates. He also sought an injunction requiring Morgan & Morgan to pull its ads off television for the duration of the case, though he later withdrew that filing.
Kearney allowed the false advertising claims to move forward against the Morgan firm, John Morgan, and attorney Scott Weinstein in relation to several statements made in commercials: “I’m your lawyer”; “We’re all here for you” and “Our family is here for your family”; “You don’t pay us unless we’re successful”; and that the firm is “not a referral service.”
The judge said Rosenbaum has made plausible claims that the statements could mislead prospective clients in Pennsylvania into thinking that the Orlando-based firm and its lawyers—only one of which is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania—will get individual attention from members of the Morgan family.
“We do not today decide whether Rosenbaum can prove Morgan & Morgan’s four statements in television commercials are deceptive or any other element of unfair competition law, including the materiality of these statements in causing Rosenbaum to lose potential personal injury clients in Pennsylvania,” Kearney said in his opinion. “We only decide Rosenbaum states a claim for possibly four statements in television commercials shown at some point in 2016 or 2017 which may equate to unfair competition against Morgan & Morgan, its global managing partner Scott Weinstein, esquire and senior partner John Morgan, esquire (as to his one statement, ‘I’m your lawyer’).”
Kearney dismissed claims related to Morgan & Morgan’s billboard and internet advertising.
Gaetan J. Alfano of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, who is representing Morgan & Morgan, declined to comment. Ryan Cohen of Rosenbaum & Associates did not return a call seeking comment.
Rosenbaum also maintains a heavy advertising presence in the Philadelphia market. Recently, he appeared in an attack ad against Morgan & Morgan touting his status as a Pennsylvania resident and a native of the Philadelphia area—although he does it standing in front of a background of New York City and the word Philadelphia is misspelled on the screen.