Business

Can you fight traffic tickets from an app? The Florida Supreme Court will decide

Christopher Riley, CEO and founder of TIKD at the start-up’s offices in Coral Gables on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. TIKD bills itself as an app that will fight traffic tickets for users.
Christopher Riley, CEO and founder of TIKD at the start-up’s offices in Coral Gables on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. TIKD bills itself as an app that will fight traffic tickets for users. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

The ongoing battle between start-up traffic ticket website TIKD.com, the Florida Bar and The Ticket Clinic will be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

This week, the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar accepted a recommendation from a Florida Bar committee that believes Coral Gables start-up TIKD is violating Florida law by practicing law without a license or providing false or misleading information to its customers. The Florida Supreme Court will be tasked with making a final decision.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed in November by TIKD, an Uber-like company that fights traffic tickets on behalf of its customers through a web application, and promises its clients they will get no points on their record. The company, which began operating early this year, sued the Ticket Clinic and the Florida Bar in federal court, alleging the two are conspiring to drive it out of business.

TIKD claims The Ticket Clinic and the Florida Bar are “conspiring” to reduce competition and threatening TIKD lawyers, leading to at least $3.8 million in lost revenue for the start-up. TIKD is seeking $11.4 million in damages and injunctions against anti-competitive practices.

For its part, the Ticket Clinic, a private ticket-defense law firm, has filed complaints with the Florida Bar claiming that TIKD is practicing law without a license, and has filed grievances against lawyers who have represented TIKD customers, threatening to have them disbarred.

In a news release, Ticket Clinic founder Mark S. Gold alleged that TIKD’s website “is replete with legal advice, which not only constitutes the unauthorized practice of law, but is false and misleading.”

“If allowed, TIKD is the first of many non-lawyers attempting to cash in on the legal profession, without the supervision required by the Florida Bar,” Gold said.

But TIKD founder and CEO Christopher Riley said Wednesday the start-up had not received any communication about the latest update in the case.

”What is interesting is that The Ticket Clinic yet again is privy to the outcome of ‘internal’ and ‘confidential’ Bar matters that even we have not been made aware of,” he said in a statement. “Regardless, this is a great opportunity for the public to observe how the Bar operates: Rich lawyers meet at expensive hotels behind closed doors and try to play favorites, even as the industry stagnates and the consumers suffer. All TIKD has wanted from the beginning is to resolve this amicably — an approach that is without a doubt in the public interest — and that’s still our aim today”

Chabeli Herrera: 305-376-3730, @ChabeliH

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