From what I read the Buffalo, New York law firm of Lipsitz Ponterio, LLC has good lawyers who appear to do a good job for the firm's clients. Unfortunately Lipsitz Ponterio, LLC makes this week's Advertising Wall of Shame for these two headlines on the firm's website, which hype Lipsitz Ponterio, LLC's results on lead paint cases:
One has to presume law school graduates know the difference between an award and a settlement. Indeed the language that follows the headlines suggest that the firm does know the difference. This makes it "Wall" worthy in that the firm appears to be using the legal terms "award" and "settlement" incorrectly, as marketing hype, to attract new business.
For the reference of all readers in Buffalo New York and elsewhere, set forth below is how the words "award" and "settlement" are defined in a number of places.
A grant made by a law court; "he criticized the awarding of compensation by the court" - Word Reference.com
To give in accordance with a judicial or administrative determination or decision
Example: award punitive damages-FindLaw for Legal Professionals
The judgment of an arbitrator or arbitrators on a matter submitted to him or them : arbitrium est judicium. The writing which contains such judgment is also called an award-LawyerIntl.com
The amount and/or form of a judgment a judge or jury gives the successful party in a lawsuit. It is often, but not always, an amount of money-Lectric Law Library
Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims-Lectric Law Library
The resolution of a lawsuit (or of a legal dispute prior to filing a complaint or petition) without going forward to a final court judgment. Most settlements are achieved by negotiation in which the attorneys (and sometimes an insurance adjuster with authority to pay a settlement amount on behalf of the company's insured defendant) and the parties agree to terms of settlement.-Law.com
A structured settlement is used as part of a negotiated compromise. You can't win a structured settlement or be awarded a structured settlement. In New York State, pursuant to Civil Practice Law Rules ("CPLR") Article 50A (for medical, dental and podiatric malpractice) and Article 50B ( for personal injury and wrongful death) it is possible to be awarded damages which are then paid out as part of a structured judgment. But what Lipsitz Ponterio, LLC is inaccurately advertising is the former not the latter.
This site is concerned with getting correct information out to the public. It's bad enough we have some factoring companies and splog cancer cells flooding the Internet with a lack of understanding of the difference between award and a settlement. We certainly can't have trial lawyers validating others' ignorance.
Lipsitz Ponterio, LLC has the responsibilty to consumers, to the legal community as a whole, as well the structured settlement and settlement planning industries who serve consumers and the legal community, to stop adding to the consumer advertising smog. It should promptly correct its web site. It is good business practice for law firms to proof their websites to be sure that the terminology on used on them for marketing purposes is correct.