Dueling Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers Gordon McKernan and E. Eric Guirard apparently are in no mood to settle a lawsuit over their respective advertising slogans, so a federal magistrate has set a jury trial for mid-2019.
McKernan filed suit in U.S. District Court in June, alleging Guirard infringed upon McKernan's trademarked "G Guarantee" ad slogan with his "E Guarantee" pitch.
McKernan also accuses Guirard of identity misappropriation by airing a "big rig" television ad that mocked McKernan. The ad depicts a man bearing McKernan's likeness plunging off an 18-wheeler while filming a commercial spot.
Some of McKernan's TV commercials show him atop a big rig with his arms folded.
Not to be outdone by McKernan's allegations, Guirard responded to the suit with counter claims against McKernan, a sure sign a settlement is highly unlikely. Both sides are seeking damages.
A heated dispute between Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers Gordon McKernan and E. Eric Guirard over accusations of ripping off advertising s…
In recently filed court documents, attorneys for McKernan and Guirard each requested a jury trial and said no efforts have been made to settle the dispute. The attorneys also stated they don't wish to have a settlement conference.
So U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Bourgeois Jr. scheduled a four-day trial to begin June 3, 2019. Senior U.S. District Judge James Brady will preside over the trial.
Guirard began using his "E Guarantee" slogan in the mid-1990s, but he was disbarred by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2009. The high court restored his law license in 2016, and Guirard has resumed using his old slogan.
McKernan, whose trademark portfolio includes "Get Gordon" and "Stand Up to Big Trucks," trademarked "Get the G Guarantee" in 2014.
His lawyers argue in court documents that after Guirard's disbarment, E. Eric Guirard and Associates "deliberately ceased usage of the 1995 E Guarantee Trademark with no intention to ever resume usage of the mark."
McKernan contends the "G Guarantee" and "E Guarantee" trademarks are "confusingly similar."
It's Gordon McKernan's "G Guarantee" versus fellow Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer E. Eric Guirard's "E Guarantee" in a lawsuit that involv…
Guirard's attorneys deny that Guirard's trademarked slogan was abandoned while he was disbarred, and they accuse McKernan of "muscling in" on Guirard's long-standing trademark and related slogans and imagery.
As for Guirard's mocking TV commercial, his lawyers call it "an obvious parody" of McKernan's marketing efforts.
By "poking fun" at McKernan's advertising, Guirard's TV spot "only emphasizes the differences between the two law firms and negates any likelihood of confusion," Guirard's attorneys maintain.
The complained-of commercial contains the following dialogue: "I'm injury lawyer E. Eric Guirard. If you've been in an accident, I don't know — car wreck, big slip, falling off an 18-wheeler while shooting a TV commercial, I can h … G whiz. Are you OK? So, don't fall for a copycat. Get an original — E. Eric Guirard."
The spot ends by saying, "No real lawyers were hurt filming this commercial."
McKernan's lawyers accuse Guirard of unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Both Guirard and his then-law partner, Thomas Pittenger, were disbarred because of what the state Supreme Court called their "business first" model, which included rewarding the firm's nonlawyer case managers for settling cases as fast as possible, the high court said.
Former Baton Rouge personal-injury lawyer E. Eric Guirard’s seven-year hiatus from practicing law in Louisiana came to an end Friday.
The justices restored Pittenger's law license in 2015.
Guirard remains under supervised probation until next spring.