F-ing Business

Published March 19, 2012

An Orlando-based law firm is suing the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida for giving the firm an “F” rating on its services.

The firm flunked in mid-2011 due to its failure “to resolve the underlying cause of a pattern of [client] complaints.”

The complaints came from clients involved in the defense of foreclosure cases and from clients seeking loan modifications. The firm says the complaints come from clients “under a tremendous amount of stress” who don’t understand their cases involve “legal complexities” and can’t be resolved quickly. The firm says the complaints are a small fraction of the 25,000 cases the firm has handled over the past three years.

The firm is claiming the BBB grading system is biased and the “F” grade hurt the firm’s current and future business. The lawsuit alleges claims of false advertising and defamation. Damages are unspecified.

Legal experts were divided on the chances the suit will succeed. Some said recent cases favor the law firm. Others said BBB has a right under the First Amendment to express its opinion, so long as it’s based on facts.