Holtzapfel Law Offices says TV ad didn't deliver

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 27, 2013

WINFIELD – Holtzapfel Law Offices, PLLC, is suing Injury Solutions after it claims it breached its contract.

In February 2010, the defendant, by and through its agent Richard Sheridan, visited Holtzapfel Law Offices for the purpose of selling advertising for legal services, according to a complaint filed Feb. 19 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Holtzapfel claims the advertisements were to be in the form of television commercials that would target individuals who had been involved in personal injury matters. Sheridan represented that it had retained actor Fred Dryer to star in the commercials, encouraging viewers with legal issues involving a personal injury to call a toll-free telephone number, the complaint says.

The targeted individuals would then call one of the defendant’s “professional counselors,” who would take relevant information regarding the details of the targeted individual’s inquiry, while screening out non-injury related calls, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims the screened callers would then be directly connected to one of the law firms the defendant had signed up for the program and the defendant represented that no more than 11 attorneys and/or law firms would be signed up, meaning Holtzapfel would be in rotation to receive every 11th screened call.

The defendant expressly represented that Holtzapfel should expect to receive at least three, and as many as seven, calls per week based on the results other attorneys and law firms had received in the past, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims the defendant expressly guaranteed that Holtzapfel would make a 200 percent return on investment during the term of the 13-month contract and guaranteed that if the law firm did not make back 200 percent of its investment, the defendant would continue to keep the firm in its rotation and keep airing commercials until it reached the agreed upon 200 percent return on investment.

In reliance upon the defendant’s representations, Holtzapfel contracted with the defendant on Feb. 25, 2010, and paid it the amount of $22,950, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims based upon the defendant’s 200 percent return on investment guarantee, it expected to generate at least $45,900 in fees as a result of the contract.

From the inception of the contract until Feb. 19, Holtzapfel has only generated $23,333.33 in legal fees from clients that were obtained as a result of the advertising services, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims the amount is barely over what it initially paid and is $22,566.67 less than the 200 percent return on investment that was guaranteed.

Since the inception of the contract until present day, Holtzapfel has only received 48 calls from potential clients through the advertising program, which is approximately .3 calls per week and substantially less than the three calls per week that was promised, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims the most calls it received in a single calendar month was seven and that only occurred once, and there have been multiple months were the law firm has not received a single phone call.

There have been no phone calls received through the advertising services since September 2011, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel claims it has communicated with the defendant multiple times and frequently advised the defendant about the fact that it was not getting the call volume promised, but the defendant eventually stopped responding to the firm’s queries and refused to account for its alleged advertising.

The defendant is liable to Holtzapfel under legal theories of negligence; breach of contract; breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing on the contract; fraud; and/or misrepresentation, according to the suit.

Holtzapfel is seeking compensatory damages. It is being represented by Richard E. Holtzapfel and David A. Holtzapfel if Holtzapfel Law Offices.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 13-C-39

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