FTC Approves Filing of Staff Comments with the Louisiana State Bar Association Regarding Attorney Advertising; FTC Approves Proposed Divestitures by Service Corp. International, et al.

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Commission approval of comments to the Louisiana State Bar Association: The Commission has approved the filing of comments by the staff of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Competition, and Bureau of Economics with the Louisiana State Bar Association concerning revisions to proposed rules on lawyer advertising and solicitation.

If adopted, the revised proposed rules would prohibit many forms of non-deceptive attorney advertisements. In the comments, the staff explains that, while false and deceptive advertising by lawyers should be prohibited, consumers are worse off when states ban an entire class of attorney advertising without any evidence that such advertising is either actually or inherently deceptive or misleading. The staff expresses concern that the revised proposed rules unnecessarily restrict truthful advertising, and that the Rules’ advertisement pre-screening provision raises competitive concerns. Thus, the staff recommends that the rules be modified.

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. V070013; the staff contact is James Cooper, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-3367.)

Commission approval of proposed divestitures: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved two petitions for proposed divestitures from Service Corporation International (SCI) and Alderwoods Group, Inc., 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 the petitions, public versions of which can be found on the Commission’s Web site and as a link to this press release, the companies requested approval to divest: 1) Yuma Mortuary & Crematory of Yuma, Arizona, to EMCR, LLC, and 2) Whitehurst-McNamara Funeral Service, of Hanford, California, and Miller’s Tulare Funeral Home of Tulare, California, to Wilson Family Funeral Chapel, Inc.

The Commission vote to approve the proposed divestitures was 5-0. (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.

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