Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Florida Court Sends Mixed Message on Solicitation Ban

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Florida Court Sends Mixed Message on Solicitation Ban

Article excerpt

In an opinion that could be of national significance, the Florida Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court ruling that Florida statutes prohibiting accountants from soliciting clients were unconstitutional (see Legal Scene, JofA, Mar.90, page 15, on the lower court's ruling).

The statutes in question barred accountants from engaging in uninvited, in-person, direct solicitation of clients and prohibited competitive bidding by CPAs. Accountant Richard Rampell was charged with violating both provisions after he visited two businesses to offer his accounting services. The solicitation took place after Rampell learned that the businesses' former CPA had retired. After the visits, a competing accountant filed a complaint with the Florida Board of Accountancy.

The trial court ruled both the solicitation ban and the competitive-bidding ban were unconstitutional violations of First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

In reviewing the case, the appellate court first addressed the issue of in-person solicitation and reversed the lower court's finding of unconstitutionality. …

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