By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez
As originally published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition June 2020
This year, before the pandemic slowdown, Injury Attorney Jesse Gonzalez was recognized as the Advertiser of the Year. During the event, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling witnessed while attending The Rio Grande Valley chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF- Rio Grande Valley).
Mayor Darling walked towards Jesse and spoke with him for a few minutes. When I saw Mayor Darling leaving the event, I intercepted him and asked him if he could tell his conversation with Jesse.
“I complimented Jesse for the great work he has done against Barratry, yes, is competition, but the wrong kind of game,” he told Texas Border Business in Exclusivity.
The mayor said that Jesse received an award for his aggressive adverting program in all media outlets, an investment recognized by the local chapter of AAF- Rio Grande Valley.
Darling pointed out that not many lawyers would spend the money or even mention that they are against Barratry. “So, I appreciate that because Barratry is terrible. Not only illegal, but the worst thing to me is if you lose a family member or you have a serious injury and end up in the hospital. The last thing you want to have is some lawyer bothering you.” He said, “I mean lawyers are bothering you asking to represent you, which goes against the law.”
Mayor Darling even went further by saying, “I don’t think the state of Texas does a good job of policing it.”
As mayor of one of the largest cities in South Texas, he said, “I hear stories pretty frequently of barratry activity, and nobody does anything about it.”
He shared a story that happened years ago, somebody lost her grandson and called him, “Jim, can you help me? because this lawyer won’t leave me alone, and I’m trying to bury my grandson.”
Mayor Darling said, “They were so persistent that I thought, how cruel could that be? What’s the matter with you that you do that?”
He pointed out that for him is very personal when grieving a parent, husband, wife, or even the person that’s suffering in the hospital, where there’s no death involved. He pointed out that lawyers are persistent in getting the business also when people are suffering and “that is illegal.”
What else did you talk with Jesse? “I told him; I wish more lawyers did that, going against barratry.”
In his opinion, Mayor Darling feels that Jesse has demonstrated that he does not need Barratry.”
The mayor didn’t stop and added, “By doing the right thing, Jesse is now a very successful lawyer. He advertises a lot, but that’s not Barratry,” he said.
“I am the mayor; however, I am also an attorney, and yes, I am against barratry because it is illegal.” He continued, “Barratry is cruelty against the family is the worst time of the lives. I mean, it’s wrong, and it’s against our ethics.”
Darling cited a lot of reasons, and one that caught our attention, “Barratry lawyers are invading somebody in a time of grief, injury, or pain, and the last thing they need is some lawyer bothering them,” he finalized.