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Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A. v. United States

Docket No.: 08-1119
Certiorari Granted: 6/8/2009
Argued: December 1, 2009
Decided: March 8, 2010
Consolidated with: CONSOLIDATED W

PartyNames: Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., et al. v. United States
Petitioner: Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., et al.
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A., et al.
United States

The Petitioners brought this civil action based upon Respondent's overbreadth and vagueness of subjectivity in whether attorneys are debt relief agencies, and if so the provisions of Section 526(a)(4) and Section 528(a)(2), (b)(4) are unconstitutional. The district court concluded that attorneys are not debt relief agencies and that the challenged sections were unconstitutional as applied to attorneys. P.A. 74a-88a. The Petitioners petitioned this Court for review because the Eighth Circuit's ruling confirming that Section 526(a)( 4) is unconstitutional and reversing that attorneys are debt relief agencies. Section 526(a)(2), (b)(4) is constitutional is inconsistent with decisions of other courts. A decisions by this Honorable Court is necessary to protect the freedom of speech and due process rights of the attorney petitioners and other attorneys throughout the United States. Further, and most important a decision will protect Petitioners' John Doe, Mary Roe and the rights of other members of the public to receive constitutionally protected speech from attorneys regarding their rights and responsibilities. Three questions are presented:

Question Presented:

1. Whether the appellate court's interpretation of attorneys as "debt relief agencies" is contrary to the plain meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 101(I2A). 2. Whether 11 U.S.C. § 528, which as applied to attorneys, restrains commercial speech by requiring mandatory deceptive disclosures in their advertisements, violates the First Amendment free speech guarantee of the United States Constitution. 3. Whether 11 U.S.C. § 528 requiring deceptive disclosures in advertisements for consumers and attorneys, violates Fifth Amendment Due Process.


1) Did the Eight Circuit's interpretation of attorneys as "debt relief agencies" contradict the plain meaning of the BAPCPA? 2) Does the BAPCA constitute a broad, content-based restriction on attorney- client communications that is not adequately tailored to constrain only speech the government has a substantial interest in restricting; and, thus violates the First Amendment? 3) Does the BAPCPA, as applied to attorneys, restrict commercial speech by requiring mandatory disclosures in advertisements, and thus violate First Amendment free speech rights?



Holding: affirmed in part, reversed in
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Justice Sonia Sotomayor

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