Legal services agency sues LegalMatch

Claiming deceptive Web advertising by LegalMatch, Maine’s Pine Tree Legal Assistance, a nonprofit agency that provides legal services to the poor, has sued the San Francisco business in federal court in Portland.

The suit alleges that when users type “Pine Tree Legal Assistance” in Web search engines, LegalMatch’s advertisements appear in the results. The ads say, “Find Pine Tree Legal Assistance Services” and link to LegalMatch’s Web site. LegalMatch is a company that describes itself as an “attorney/client matching service.”

A report on the suit in the Portland Press Herald quotes Hugh Calkins, PTLA’s director of research and development: “The case is about people trying to mislead our client population to commercial Web sites that they can’t afford.”

PTLA’s suit seeks damages against the San Francisco-based online company for trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and false advertisement.

Lawyers from the law firms Bernstein Shur and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi are representing PTLA at no cost.