The Colorado Supreme Court has just ruled that lawyers can be sued under the state's consumer protection act.
Richard E. Crowe sued Franklin D. Azar & Associates, claiming that the law firm perpetrates a fraud on the public by using television advertisements that falsely tout its ability to obtain full value for its clients� personal injury claims.
Mr. Crowe contended that he retained the Azar firm to handle his personal injury case based on its boastful advertisements, that the firm did not perform as advertised, and that he was pressured into settling for far less than the full value of his claim. According to Crowe, the firm is a high-volume personal injury practice whose profitability depends on quick settlements of cases with minimal expenditure of effort and resources by the firm. Crowe's complaint included a count alleging that the firm was in violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. ��6-1-101 et seq.
The court rejected Azar's argument that lawyers are exempt from the state consumer protection law.
The bad news is the recognition that this type of practice of law is commerce, not professionalism. The good news is the public statement that lawyers who sell snake oil can be sued for doing so.