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Peter Francis Geraci strong-arms Illinois political website

Thursday, Dec 14, 2006

Peter Francis Geraci’s ubiquitous advertising about its bankruptcy tapes has made the firm a success. That success appears to have gone to the firm’s head.

Illinois Review, a conservative website, posted a tongue in cheek headline over a story last week about Illinois’ massive state debt. “Peter Francis Geraci, the Governor is on Line 1.”

Yesterday, the site’s administrator received an e-mail from Scott Stoolmaker, Peter Francis Geraci’s director of operations.

You [sic] site is engaging in the unauthorized use of out [sic] trade name ‘Peter Francis Geraci’. Remove the content immediately.

Despite the illiterate nature of the e-mail, IR immediately pulled the name off the post, but others have stepped into the fray. Greg Blankenship pointed out the ridiculousness of the firm’s claim in a post entitled “Peter Francis Geraci, Call a 1st Amendment Lawyer.”

…We can also say, Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Exxon and any other number trade names all damn day and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Mr. Stoolmaker, with the number hits on blogs and their power to shape news, break stories you do your brand identity no good by threatening political activists engaged in political speech. It’s the kind of thing that can make you infamous in a hurry.

Archpundit, a Democratic blogger and no major fan of the conservative Republican Illinois Review, chimed in with: “Why Would You Hire The Law Firm of Peter Francis Geraci When They Don’t Understand Even Basic Law”

The ultimate outcome of this ridiculous claim is that anyone seeking to hire the Law Firm of Peter Francis Geraci now knows that they are incompetent lawyers.


I sent Stoolmaker an e-mail this morning.

Could you please explain to me exactly how Illinois Review violated your trade name by merely putting it in a headline?

He responded thusly:

The only issue I have with the use of our name is when other sites link to your site which they were doing when the site used the name Peter Francis Geraci.

Um, huh?

Stoolmaker sent a longer note of explanation to IR:

Please let your readers/posters know that the content itself was not the issue. The issue arises when others link to your site using our name as a keyword search picked up by Google, Yahoo and other similar search engines. Many websites “tag” our name to direct/redirect clients and prospective clients to websites that have little to do with our law firm or direct them our competitors and is a constant problem. Your site was being linked by the following company: [link]

Scott Stoolmaker, Director of Operations
Law Offices of Peter Francis Geraci

What a moronic explanation. So, according to this law firm, no blogger can ever mention the name Peter Francis Geraci because some search engine might somehow refer potential customers to their sites instead of the firm’s website?

I beg to differ, Peter Francis Geraci.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Bill - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:31 am:

    This guy’s name can’t really be stoolmaker!

  2. - Squideshi - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:32 am:

    I agree, Rich. Peter Francis Geraci is dead wrong. At the very least, this can be considered parody.

  3. - True Observer - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:33 am:

    Like his clients give 2 bits about what the politicians are saying.

    They’re at the Wal-Mart at 1:00 A.M.

  4. - Common Sense in Illinois - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:42 am:

    And thus far the guy’s name is mentioned 12 times in this post and comments…not a bad day’s work for the marketing department…

  5. - Anon Sequitor - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:45 am:

    At a previous job, we had the occasion to work with the lawyer whose name I shall not mention. He thought he had this great claim on an issue way outside of his expertise. He wouldn’t listen to the experts and well, I can’t mention what happened for fear of getting an email from the other unmentionable guy. They should stick to their expertise, Besides, don’t they understand the use of his name in the IR blog was “good PR” Duh!

  6. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 10:59 am:

    True, it’s basic (1st Amendment) law, but these guys are bankruptcy attorneys, so who cares if they don’t seem to understand it? Makes for some yucks though, donut?

  7. - Jake from Elwood - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:03 am:

    Perhaps Stoolie didn’t listen clearly enough to the information tapes that his firm repeatedly touts over the airwaves.

  8. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:11 am:

    Celozzi Ettelson would have understood any coverage is good coverage.

  9. - Squideshi - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:34 am:

    Bill Baar, you hit the nail on the head. Eric Kroll over at the Daily Herald thought that he was going to cripple the Whitney for Governor campaign by red-baiting the candidate; however, in the end, this only served to raise Whitney’s profile.

  10. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:35 am:

    I was wondering the same thing, Bill. Maybe Scott’s outlook on life is shaped by the “buttload” of “crap” he undoubtedly took in school over that moniker.

    Won’t go any further or Rich will delete me.

  11. - Just Saying - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:38 am:

    Notoriety as a trial lawyer is not such a bad thing. Being notorious for being a dumb trial lawyer is.

  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:51 am:

    PFG might want to spend the $2,000 it costs for serch engine optimization of their website.

  13. - Bakersfield - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 11:59 am:

    I agree with Yellow Dog, its not like they are currently putting that money towards developping their ads.

  14. - Angie - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 12:26 pm:

    Well, if someone wants to threaten to send a Cease and Desist over it, point them this-a-ways first…

    The goal is often to scare someone into submission and compliance with your wishes, because as a lawyer, this guy has got to know the law, for Pete’s sake.

  15. - Angie (post-script) - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 12:33 pm:

    By the way, if anyone from the law firm that doesn’t want to be named needs to learn how to become more literate (lest they embarrass themselves further), here’s a good way to start simple with those books…

  16. - Crockett - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 1:46 pm:

    I can’t find the link on this message board to buy bankruptcy tapes. Rich, this is all so very confusing. Uh oh, did I mention confusion, looks like Stoolmaker may deem this a trademark violation as well.

  17. - Mary Kennedy - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 4:24 pm:

    From a guy whose office used to stick flyers under windshields in Lakeview urging people to consider filing bankruptcy, being concerned about his image is a bit much.

  18. - Not So Fast - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 5:08 pm:

    The headlines’s reference to Geraci was flattering; it was implying that he is a brand name in the bankruptcy field. But of course he is too dim to see that. Do you think if the headline read “Blagojevich slammed so hard by the legislature that he should get Bob Clifford on the line,” that Clifford would squawk?

  19. - Angie - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 7:05 pm:

    Speaking of wacky lawyers, check Illinoize headlines. Lawyers starting up a medical malpractice insurance firm. Hah! Good one.

  20. - Squideshi - Thursday, Dec 14, 06 @ 8:17 pm:

    Angie, don’t get me started. Not only was the insurance industry able to sell the medical malpractice myth to doctors, but they actually fooled the legislature!

  21. - M.V. - Friday, Dec 15, 06 @ 12:09 am:

    Peter Francis Geraci should sue the Internet.

  22. - Angie - Friday, Dec 15, 06 @ 2:16 pm:

    Squid wrote: “Not only was the insurance industry able to sell the medical malpractice myth to doctors, but they actually fooled the legislature!”

    We need to change the Pledge to “One nation, under lawyers.”

    Not to knock the good ones in the profession who go on to become tough prosecutors who cannot be bought by anyone (clone them, please, because we need more of them!), but it is so true that they run everything.

    Law school is to expensive for so many that they end up having to go into corporate instead of public interest law to pay off the debt. Very sad for democracy, because there are more little people getting kicked around who can’t afford the best legal help, and like the big brainiacs are ever going to take a $40K a year job as a public defender, right? *sigh*

  23. - Angie - Saturday, Dec 16, 06 @ 4:19 pm:

    By the way, as far as that Chilling Effects site goes, I hope everyone reads this carefully…

    From Chilling Effects (dot org)-

    We invite you to input Cease and Desist letters that you’ve received into our database, to document the chill.

    If it hasn’t been done yet, send the corresp. received from They-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named right on over to the good folks at Chilling Effects, pronto.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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