We specialize in representing clients regarding unfair trade practices under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
FLORIDA’S DECEPTIVE AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES ACT
I decided in 2019, to take a different path and begin practicing by my self, focusing on the types of cases that I have a strong interest and substantial 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. ( 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 or reliance by the purchaser is required. A violation of the Act, that causes that aggrieves a plaintiff ( more harm than the general public) will trigger the right to declaratory and injunctive relief —- and probably an award of 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.