A Florida startup that matches drivers with lawyers contends in a federal lawsuit that the Florida Bar and a competitor have launched “a coordinated attack” to drive it out of business.
The startup TIKD Services targeted the bar and a law firm called The Ticket Clinic in an antitrust lawsuit (PDF) filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida last Wednesday, report the Daily Business Review (sub. req.) and the Miami Herald.
TIKD Services developed an app called TIKD in which drivers who receive tickets upload their tickets, pay TIKD a fixed price, receive a lawyer through the app to defend the tickets, and get a guarantee from TIKD that the tickets will cost no more money, no matter the outcome.
The Florida Bar launched an investigation 10 months ago into whether TIKD was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and the investigation “continues with no end in sight,” the lawsuit says.
TIKD says the bar issued an informal opinion giving the false impression that working with TIKD would violate ethics rules. Meanwhile, lawyers from The Ticket Clinic filed ethics complaints “against every attorney they could find who has worked with TIKD’s customers,” the suit says.
The anti-competitive actions have cost TIKD $3.8 million in lost revenue, the suit alleges.
Mark Gold, CEO of The Ticket Clinic, told the Miami Herald that “we are confident that the lawsuit has absolutely no merit.”
TIKD’s founder and CEO, Christopher Riley, told the Miami Herald that TIKD’s national rollout is progressing despite its problems in Florida. “Today, in addition to Florida, we operate in Georgia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and California and will continue to aggressively roll out across the country,” he said.