Our Seattle Times’ Tricia Duryee reports a class action suit has been filed against Avvo, an online attorney directory and rating service. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of attorney’s nationwide claiming Avvo’s ‘site is unfair and highly deceptive.’

Steve Berman, a Seattle based leading class action lawyer, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Its alleged that the site violates unfair methods of competition and deceptive acts in the conduct of commerce as stated in the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

From Berman’s press release:

When the site launched, they had a very slick media campaign that led consumers to believe the site would give them accurate and insightful information about attorneys. In reality, we believe the site’s rating methodology is prone to error and wide open to manipulation.

Courtesy of John Cook of the Seattle P-I, who’s been covering Avvo from their stealth days, here’s a copy of the 25 page complaint. Cook provides additional commentary on the Avvo suit in his blog.

Mark Britton, CEO of Avvo, claims that Avvo has the right to do an online rating service under the First Amendment. John Cook, who spoke with Britton this afternoon, details Britton’s further response in this blog post.

Interesting that Berman went with Seattle attorney, John Henry Browne, as a named plaintiff. Browne has been highly vocal of AVVO leaving a trail of news commentary, something you’re not always looking for in a named plaintiff. In addition, Browne makes for an easy target for Britton who claims Browne is an isolated lawyer crying sour grapes for a low rating caused by prior disciplinary action.

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