U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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Fourth Circuit holds West Virginia law regulating lawyer advertisements on medical drugs and devices does not violate the First Amendment and orders the case dismissed

April 27, 2022

The Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a 2020 West Virginia law prohibiting trial lawyers from using misleading tactics, like falsely labeling their ads as “medical alerts” or using the word “recall” when no recall had been issued, to scare consumers into signing up for lawsuits. Trial lawyers sued in federal court to block the law, which they claimed violates the First Amendment.

The U.S. Chamber Litigation Center filed an amicus brief in the case urging the Fourth Circuit to reverse the district court’s misapplication of First Amendment doctrine to the West Virginia law. The Litigation Center also participated in oral argument. Audio of the oral argument is available here.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform was instrumental in the enactment of this law. The Fourth Circuit relied on the Chamber’s brief and cited ILR research, Bad for Your Health: Lawsuit Advertising, Implications and Solutions on the negative impacts of such ads. The full opinion can be found here.

Why It Matters:The favorable ruling in West Virginia will protect consumers in the state, and it will strengthen efforts in other state legislatures as they consider similar laws.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief arguing Fourth Circuit should reverse misapplication of First Amendment doctrine to West Virginia law regulating lawyer advertisements on medical drugs and devices

September 07, 2021

Click here to view the brief. Elbert Lin and J. Pierce Lamberson of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and the U.S. Chamber’s Litigation Center served as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber.

Previously, the U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief when this case was before the district court.

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