BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A proposal striking at the proliferation of TV, radio and billboard ads blanketing Louisiana is headed to the state House for debate after winning support from senators Thursday.
Sen. Heather Cloud’s bill would declare as false or misleading those lawyer ads in which a person claims to have received the full amount of a settlement or judgment. Instead, the ads would have to disclose how much was deducted for attorney fees, expert witness fees, court costs and any other expenses related to the litigation.
Advertisements deemed to be deceptive could be prosecuted as an unfair trade practice violation.
Cloud, a Republican from Turkey Creek, said lawyers are making false promises of big payouts, encouraging people to file lawsuits against businesses. But she said people who file the lawsuits only get a small slice of the money from the judgments and settlements in most instances.
“Attorney advertising is a black eye in the face of Louisiana,” Cloud said.
Sen. Jay Luneau, an Alexandria Democrat, said the bill is a separation of powers violation because the Louisiana Supreme Court regulates the practice of law.
“We’re going to spend a whole lot of money (defending) an unconstitutional bill,” Luneau said..
Cloud worked with Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office on the proposal and said she believes it’s been tailored to “pass constitutional muster.”
The Senate voted 28-6 for the measure, sending it to the House for consideration.
Senate Bill 395: www.legis.la.gov