Personal Injury Firm Can’t Block Competitor From Using ‘Simon Says’ Slogan
An Orlando-area personal injury attorney’s request for an injunction against a local rival firm over use of slogans which include the phrase “Simon Says” was denied by a federal judge on Monday. U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza ruled that the attorney submitting the request, Ortavia D. Simon, had not sufficiently demonstrated the injunction was warranted, specifically citing a lack of evidence presented.
Simon’s firm — Simon Law Group — is well known for using the slogan “Simon Says You Deserve Justice.” The infringement suit was brought against competitor personal injury attorney Simon Nicholson of Sunshine State Law Firm, who is reported to have adopted the tagline “Simon Says Justice” upon his firm’s launch in 2018. Ortavia Simon’s offices are located in Maitland, Florida, while Simon Nicholson’s offices are located approximately four miles southeast in Winter Park, Florida. Both attorneys promote personal injury law services.
In his decision, Judge Mendoza wrote, “Plaintiffs simply do not address whether their mark is valid,” and “Plaintiffs cite no legal authority and do not provide any substantive analysis.”
Ortavia Simon and his Simon Law Group firm initially filed an infringement suit against Nicholson and his firm in July 2019 (at which time the firm was named Nicholson Injury Law). In the complaint, Ortavia Simon claims he has been using the tagline “Simon Says You Deserve Justice” since 2016 on all of his firm’s communication services including its business cards, brochures, websites, and social media pages. The complaint also cites Simon’s usage of the tagline in various methods of advertising such as billboards and fliers. The suit alleges Nicholson began using the “Simon Says Justice” slogan in 2018.
Additionally, the suit claims that Nicholson bought the simonsaysjustice.com domain in December 2017, and subsequently bought nicholsoninjurylaw.com in January 2018. According to the suit, Nicholson allegedly began using the “Simon Says Justice” tagline shortly thereafter on the firm’s website, Instagram and Facebook pages, billboards, and additional promotional materials.
Since the suit was first filed Nicholson’s firm has now assumed the new name of Sunshine State Law Firm. Sunshine State’s website does not appear to include the “Simon Says Justice” tagline. Furthermore, the simonsaysjustice.com domain name is currently inactive.
In the infringement suit Simon is seeking disgorgement of profits connected to use of the allegedly infringing tagline, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Nicholson is represented by his colleague at the Sunshine State Law Firm, Mitchell Houston Chubb.
Simon is represented by Shannon Natasha Davis of the Law Office of Shannon N. Davis PA.