Douglas B. Brown, PA
Attorney at Law
This website includes the basic information about my background and experience and references cases where I had substantial involvement.
FLORIDA’S DECEPTIVE AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES ACT
After having been fortunate enough to spend 33 years with a truly great law firm, I decided to start my own practice focusing on the areas I have the most experience. Because of my background working for the FTC, my primary focus has been on cases in which a party alleges unfair and deceptive acts or practices. The state statute — the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act ( referred to as "FDUTPA ") —is modeled after the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC has issued policy statements that define both unfairness and deception that are binding on Florida courts based on the provisions of the state statute.
The vast majority of FDUTPA cases are brought as deception cases. The elements of a FDUTPA deception claim require only an act, practice or omission that is likely to mislead consumers ( including businesses) acting reasonably under the circumstances. The deception must be material — likely to influence a decision under an objective standard.
Deception claims are particularly powerful in class actions if the deceptive statement is material and wide spread — such as advertising or labeling. Under those circumstances, the Federal courts and to a lesser degree the state courts are likely to certify class actions because widely disseminated materially false statement would be presumed to raise the market price — injuring every purchaser who purchased the product or service during the relevant time period.
Unlike common law fraud, neither proof on intent to defraud nor reliance by the purchaser is required. A violation of the Act, that "aggrieves" a plaintiff ( more harm than the general public) will trigger the right to declaratory and injunctive relief —- and probably an award of attorney fees. Generally, damages are limited to the difference between the value of the product or service as represented( the purchase price) and the value received. Consequential damages and punitive damages are not recoverable under FDUTPA but are recoverable for torts such as fraud.
The statute of limitations for a FDUTPA claim is generally 4 years from the date of purchase. Some regulated industries are exempt from coverage and there are several other exemptions.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Other areas of interest to me include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ( TCPA). That statute protects consumers for unwanted and automated telephone calls and unsolicited faxes. The cases are generally brought as class actions. Any violation results in a minimum 500 dollar statutory damages and $ 1,500 for intentional violations for each call or fax transmission.
Over 40 Years Experience in Consumer Litigation
10 years working for the Florida Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission
33 years with one of the leading Florida litigation defense firms
Speaking Engagements & Articles Written
- Co-Author, "Significant FCC Ruling Distinguishes Online Fax Services Not in Violation of TCPA," December 2019
- Author, "TCPA Fax Class Actions Could Be An Endangered Species," Law360, August 1, 2019
- Speaker, "TCPA Litigation in Light of ACA International: Strategies and Practical Guide," The Knowledge Group Webinar, February 2019
- "Tips for Young Lawyers: The Corporate Representative Deposition," Trial Advocate Quarterly, FDLA, Spring 2017
- Speaker, "Advertising and Promotion for Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Biological and Veterinary Medicine Industries", FDLI, June 2014
- Speaker, "Important Developments in 2013, and Looking Ahead to 2014," FDLI, Nov. 2013
- Author, "Class Actions under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991," 2010 Fall Issue, FDCC Quarterly
- Health Care Antitrust, Federal Trade Commission — Special Commendation — 1986
- "Florida Legislature Broadens the Scope of the Little F.T.C. Act," Florida Bar Journal — Author — 1993
- Non-compete agreements for Lorman — Speaker
- "Little FTC Act," for The Florida Bar — Speaker
- Speaker, "False Advertising Class Action Litigation Under State Little FTC Acts," Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), September 2013
- Speaker, "Defense of Class Actions for False Advertising Under State Little FTC Acts," Retail Industry Leaders Association Annual Conference, Nov. 2012