Thursday, August 7, 2008
The new website plans to help consumers determine whether they actually have a case and help them find an attorney from a list of lawyers who advertise their expertise on the website. The attorneys will pay an annual fee of $1,000 to appear on the site, plus an additional amount of their own choosing that will determine how prominently they appear in the listings on the site.
Update (by BC): TortDeform has a post, itself linking to an InjuryBoard post, which itself links to a no-longer-existing post (whew) that supposedly linked WhoCanISue to defense firm Jorden Burt. I'm not sure how they came up with the link, but the suggestion is that it's a scam to make plaintiffs' attorneys look bad.
Let's do some digging, shall we?
WhoCanISue.com is registered to mRevolution at 110 E. Atlantic St. in Delray Beach. Looking at Google Maps and its StreetView, that address looks rather unlikely to be part of a big firm, but does look like the sort of place that might house a "sales leads" generating entity, which is what mRevolution is. And, sure enough, right on the front page, mRevolution notes WhoCanISue as one of its properties (click on it to see):
mRevolution is run by one Curtis Wolfe, who is indeed an attorney, but one without any visible connection to Jorden Burt, though he was evidently with Steel Hector prior to that firm's merger with Squire Sanders. The only connection I can see to Jorden Burt is that a partner from there is quoted in the Time piece saying that it is a bad idea.
Short version: Nope, I don't think this is an elaborate scam to make trial lawyers look bad. I do think it's a bad idea, for the reasons Eric described in connection with SueEasy.com.
Update #2: First, be sure to read the comments for a bit more on some other rabbit trails, all of which end with the same entities and people (none of them defense lawyers or insurers). Second, evidently TV ads will start soon, judging from these screenshots, they'll be, um, interesting. PDF of the page here, in case it gets taken down: Download twoparrot.pdf.
Update #3: We received an e-mail from a Miami PR firm doing work for WhoCanISue in connection with its launch. The author of the e-mail, Michael Tangeman, says fairly convincingly that the website is what it purports to be, and attached a couple of PDFs relating to the site and Wolf (Download wcis_backgrounder.pdf, Download curtis_wolfe_bio.pdf). He also linked to a couple of articles (Miami Herald, Advertising Age).
Incidentally, I'd forgotten that, last fall, a different person on InjuryBoard had thought SueEasy.com was a hoax, too; I disagreed and I think it's clear that it was (and is) not a hoax. Same reasons there as here -- it would be a stupid hoax and the evidence all points to legitimacy.
Finally, the author of the original (inaccessible) post has now posted it at Tort Deform in the comments, and it doesn't do anything like suggest that Jorden Burt is involved, as claimed by Jeremy Thurman in his post. Hinson, instead, noted that Jorden Burt was quoted and, unsurprisingly, complained about frivolous lawsuits. He's also not fond of WhoCanISue, and that's his main point.
Whew. That was a lot of hoopla that could have been avoided with a modicum of careful reading in the first place.
- SBS (everything after "Update" by BC)