FRANKLYWNOW - Workman Faces Legal Ethics Complaint

Workman Faces Legal Ethics Complaint

West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse has filed a complaint with the West Virginia State Bar against Margaret Workman, former justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Workman, who now works as a personal injury attorney, is airing a new commercial in which she appears in her judge's robe. The ad says, "This is Margaret Workman. As a former Supreme Court justice, I want to help people who have been hurt by dangerous drugs." The commercial encourages people who have taken the prescription drugs Vioxx and Bextra to call her law firm. Those drugs were taken off the market because of dangerous side effects, and many law firms have been advertising for plaintiffs to sue the drugs' manufacturers. Attempts to contact Workman were unsuccessful at press time. According to Bill Bissett, executive director of Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), the complaint alleges Workman violated the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyer advertisements. The rules restrict lawyers from making false or misleading communications about their services that may lead to unjustified expectations about the results the lawyer can achieve. Bissett said Workman is using her judge's robe "to get in front of the pack" of lawyers trying to gather plaintiffs for lawsuits against drug companies. "It's like someone wearing a police uniform who is no longer a police officer," Bissett said. "That is not what that robe is for." Bissett said Workman's commercial could give consumers the impression that "this is a judge telling them these drugs are dangerous." "That's for a jury to determine after a trial," he said.

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