Saturday, August 30, 2014

Can You Quote a Judge’s Compliments on Your Website?

Yes, according to the Third Circuit. In a nutshell:

Attorney Andrew Dwyer, lauded by New Jersey judges in separate judicial opinions, published on his law firm's website those complimentary remarks. One of the judges objected to this, and ultimately the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted an attorney-conduct guideline that bans advertising with quotations from judicial opinions unless the opinions appear in full. Is the guideline an unconstitutional infringement on speech as applied to the advertisements of Mr. Dwyer and his firm? We believe it is and thus reverse the contrary decision of the District Court.

Here is the quote to which the judge objected:

"The inescapable conclusion is . . . that plaintiffs achieved a spectacular result when the file was in the hands of Mr. Dwyer. . . . Mr. Dwyer was a fierce, if sometimes not disinterested advocate for his clients, and through an offensive and defensive motion practice and through other discovery methods molded the case to the point where it could be successfully resolved."

If I were Mr. Dwyer, I certainly would want to post that quotation on my website. On the other hand, I might ask the judge’s permission first. And on the other hand, I strongly suspect that the judge would decline to give that permission.

You can read the court’s opinion here (Dwyer v. Cappell, No. 13-3235, 2014 BL 221382 (3d Cir. Aug. 11, 2014).


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