Lawyer ads that look like VA hospital sites

by Walter Olson on April 1, 2010

VACenterAsbestosAd2The sleaziest asbestos-suit-marketing practice yet? You decide. In what is unfortunately not an April Fool’s joke, Roger Parloff at Fortune exposes a network of client recruitment sites that would fool many casual visitors into thinking they are sponsored by the federal government’s Veteran’s Administration, under headings like “VA Medical Center Palo Alto” and corresponding domain names. A founding partner of well-known New York plaintiff’s firm Seeger Weiss expressed regret about his firm’s listing as a sponsor of the site. The full story is here (& welcome Legal Blog Watch readers).

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DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Lawyer ads that look like VA hospital sites
04.01.10 at 1:07 pm

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1 Carter Wood 04.01.10 at 12:55 pm

Did you know that Congress has just passed a bill making it illegal to send mailing that intentionally intend to deceive recipients that they’re Census mailings. H.R. 4621, the Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act? I wonder whether we’ll soon see similar legislation banning deceptive VA-look-alike websites.

2 AMcA 04.02.10 at 10:47 am

I have my own little war against the asbestos bar going.

Did you all know that when you punch “mesothelioma” into Google, and you click the sponsored links at the top and on the side of the page, each click costs an asbestos lawyer $25? Yes, “mesothelioma” is the most expensive seach term on Google.

So go punch up “mesothelioma” on Google, and click all the sponsored links. Take a bite out of the asbestos bar!

I do it regularly, and always enjoy myself!

3 AMcA 04.02.10 at 10:53 am

Re: my little war on the asbestos bar.

I just did a round of Googling of “mesothelioma” as described above. And I was struck by the stealthy nature of the asbestos bar’s efforts. Few of the sites directly reference lawsuits. Many masquerade as information sites, asking you to put in your name, address and telephone number to receive helpful information about mesothelioma.

Do we really think that well-meaning, helpful people are paying $25 a click-thru to give away information packets (particularly when plain old information is generally just posted on the web these days)? Or are these webites maybe, just maybe, set up to generate a list of potential plaintiffs who can be solicited?

Something deep down inside me says that this kind of stealth recruitment of plaintiffs is highly unethical.

4 A.W. 04.02.10 at 12:32 pm

Walter

This would seem to run afaul of the code of professional conduct in most states on misleading advertising. Do you know if the relevant bar associations know about this?

5 Curtis Armstrong 04.03.10 at 9:21 pm

Check and you’ll see that there are over 150 of ‘VAMedicalCenterCITY.com’ domains registered. All by legal marketing firm CMTM, more commonly known as eJustice.com

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