FTC Approves Filing of Staff Comments with the Indiana Supreme Court Regarding Attorney Advertising; FTC Receives Petition for Approval of Proposed Divestiture from SCI and Alderwoods Group

For Your Information

Commission approval of comments to the Indiana Supreme Court: The Commission has approved the filing of comments by the staff of the Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Bureau of Economics with the Indiana Supreme Court concerning attorney advertising and solicitation proposed by the Indiana State Bar Association. The comments were developed in response to a request for public comment by the Bar Association and the Indiana Supreme Court regarding proposed amendments to state rules governing attorney advertising.

The proposed amendments would ban deceptive advertisements, but with one exception, place no prophylactic bans on specific forms of advertising. Still, the staff comments express concern regarding the proposed rules prohibiting attorneys from participating in all but a select set of referral programs, and suggest that some non-approved programs (such as online legal matching programs) may provide an efficient and lower-cost alternative for consumers. Accordingly, the comments recommend that the Bar consider revising the Proposed Amendments to make clear that such programs are not prohibited.

The Commission vote approving the comments to the State Bar Association was 5-0. A copy of the comments can be found on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. V070010; the staff contact is Gustav P. Chiarello, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2633.)

Petition for approval of proposed divestiture: The Commission has received a petition from Service Corporation International (SCI) and Alderwoods Group, Inc. seeking approval of a proposed divestiture related to SCI’s recent acquisition of Alderwoods. In the FTC’s consent agreement and order allowing the transaction to proceed with conditions, SCI and Alderwoods were required to divest a range of funeral home and cemetery services companies. Through this petition, a public version of which can be found on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release, the companies have requested approval to divest Yuma Mortuary & Crematory in Yuma, Arizona, to EMCR, LLC. The petition replaces a prior petition submitted by SCI to divest the Yuma facility to C.E.J. Management, Inc., which has been withdrawn.

The FTC is seeking public comments on the proposed divestiture for 30 days, until June 13, 2007, after which it will decide whether to approve it. Comments should be sent to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. (FTC File No. 061-0156, Docket No. C-4174; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623; see press release dated November 22, 2006.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180