New Allegations Raised in Ongoing Pitt-Lundy Dispute
Just shy of three weeks after a federal judge tossed personal injury firm Larry Pitt & Associates' monopoly claims against competitor Lundy Law with the opportunity to replead them, the Pitt firm has raised new allegations that Lundy Law is engaged in a "horizontal conspiracy" in which it refers work to other law firms in exchange for their agreement not to advertise on SEPTA buses.
The Pitt firm has also expanded on its previous allegation that Lundy Law refers its clients to doctors and other health care providers in exchange for cash payments.
In its 85-page second amended complaint in Larry Pitt & Associates v. Lundy Law, filed Jan. 2, the Pitt firm alleges Lundy Law entered into an agreement with Philadelphia workers' compensation firm Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano in which Pond Lehocky refrains from advertising on Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority vehicles. SEPTA is Greater Philadelphia's regional mass transit system.
In exchange, the new complaint alleges, Lundy Law falsely advertises itself as a Social Security disability and workers' compensation firm and then refers much of the work it brings in from those advertisements to Pond Lehocky.
Pond Lehocky, meanwhile, pays Lundy Law a fee for these advertisements and referrals, according to the complaint, which also alleges Lundy Law has similar agreements with other firms, but does not name them.
"The intent and effect of Lundy's conspiracy with partner advertising law firms, like Pond Lehocky, which are held out to the public as competitors, but in fact are working in concert, is to expand Lundy's already dominant marketing position through combination with its partners, and further foreclose competition in the market for legal services provided by small personal injury and Social Security disability and workers' compensation law firms in the Greater Philadelphia region from other competitors, including Pitt," the second amended complaint said.
The second amended complaint said that emails between Lundy Law and Titan, the advertising company that has the exclusive rights to sell advertisements on behalf of SEPTA, obtained through Right-to-Know Law requests, show that Lundy Law principal L. Leonard Lundy told the advertising firm that his "'advertising partners'" had decided not to advertise on SEPTA buses around the same time that Pond Lehocky told Titan that it did not want to advertise on the interior of buses.
Reached via email Jan. 3, Pond Lehocky principal Samuel H. Pond called the allegations "bizarre."
"We decided not to advertise in the interior of mass transit since we didn't feel it fit into our marketing strategy, not because Len Lundy was on the exterior of buses," Pond said in the email. "The Lundy firm never was in our thoughts or discussions in making our decisions."
The second amended complaint names Titan as a defendant in addition to Lundy Law and Leonard Lundy. Pond Lehocky is not named as a defendant.