Fourth Circuit Revives West Virginia’s Limits on Attorney Drug and Device Ads

May 2, 2022

Last week, the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a 2020 West Virginia law prohibiting trial lawyers from using misleading tactics, like falsely labeling their ads as “medical alerts” or using the word “recall” when no recall had been issued, to scare consumers into signing up for lawsuits. Trial lawyers sued in federal court to block the law, which they claimed violates the First Amendment.

The U.S. Chamber Litigation Center filed an amicus brief in the case urging the Fourth Circuit to reverse the district court’s misapplication of First Amendment doctrine to the West Virginia law. The Litigation Center also participated in oral argument. Audio of the oral argument is available here.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform was instrumental in the enactment of this law.  The Fourth Circuit relied on the Chamber’s brief and cited ILR research, Bad for Your Health: Lawsuit Advertising, Implications and Solutions on the negative impacts of such ads. The full opinion can be found here.

Why It Matters: The favorable ruling in West Virginia will protect consumers in the state, and it will strengthen efforts in other state legislatures as they consider similar laws.