A Florida-based technology start-up, TIKD, offers drivers a one-stop solution to dealing with traffic tickets: upload an image of a ticket to TIKD’s website, pay a one-time charge, and TIKD does the rest: pays an independent attorney to defend the ticket and pays any fine or court costs if the ticket isn’t dismissed. If “points” are assessed, TIKD issues a full refund. TIKD does not have lawyers on staff; it works with an independent network of traffic-defense attorneys.
When The Florida Bar and a local law firm started threatening TIKD’s network of attorneys, claiming TIKD was violating Florida law, TIKD turned to GDHM’s Pete Kennedy for help. For years, Pete has represented innovative tech companies and publishers around the country who are helping make legal services cheaper and easier to obtain.
Working with GDHM and Florida trial counsel, TIKD has sued The Florida Bar for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. TIKD’s lawsuit claims the Bar exceeded its authority by issuing an opinion stating TIKD’s business violates the law and by telling Florida lawyers they risked ethics sanctions if they represent TIKD’s customers. In response, the Bar claims it is not required to comply with federal antitrust laws because it is a state agency.
In an extraordinary move, in March 2018, the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a Statement of Interest supporting TIKD’s argument that The Florida Bar is not immune from federal antitrust liability unless the bar association is actively supervised by state officials, something TIKD argues is not being done in Florida. The DOJ’s action has sent reverberations through state bars around the country, many of whom actively defend their members’ monopoly on providing legal services.