NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana firm that deals with lien rights says attempts by the bar associations in several states to keep it from giving legal advice violate antitrust laws.
Express Lien Inc., doing business as zlien, filed a lawsuit July 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association Unauthorized Practice Of Law Committee, Alan Rosca, Daniel J. Myers and Nicole K. Wilson, alleging civil rights, free speech and antitrust laws.
According to the complaint, the defendants have sent cease and desist letters to Express Lien, attempting to suppress it from giving customers legal advice because it is not licensed by any bar association to practice law. However, Express Lien argues the defendants are attempting to deny its free speech and civil rights, and that their attempts to determine who can practice law are anticompetitive.
Express Lien seeks a jury trial and damages. It is represented by attorney Seth J. Smiley of Wolfe Law Group in New Orleans and by in-house attorneys Scott Wolfe Jr. and Nathan L. Budde.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Case number 2:15-cv-02519