A Plaintiff Must Plead Actual Damages for an FDUTPA Claim to Move Forward
Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (The FDUTPA) is a state law that prohibits unfair business activities. The FDUTPA allows consumers to hold a business or organization legally liable for damages caused by commercial deception or abusive practices. To bring a winning FDUTPA, a plaintiff must prove “actual damages”—as that is the core remedy for this type of legal claim. Here, our Miami, FL FDUTPA lawyer explains the key things that plaintiffs should understand about this hurdle in a deceptive and unfair trade practices claims in Florida.
Actual Damages are a Required Element in an FDUTPA Claim
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that actual damages are a legally required element in an FDUTPA claim in Florida. Actual damages refer to the real and substantial loss a party incurs. A plaintiff must show that they have sustained a quantifiable loss due to the defendant’s deceptive or unfair trade practice. The requirement serves a crucial function in ensuring that the claim is grounded in a real-world impact. Without proof of actual damages, the FDUTPA cannot move forward.
A Defendant May Move to Dismiss an FDUTPA Claim On the Grounds of “No Damages”
If a plaintiff fails to prove actual damages in an FDUTPA claim, the defendant has solid grounds to move for a dismissal. In legal parlance, this is known as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. If there are no damages, there is no actionable offense under the FDUTPA.
An instructive example comes from a ruling by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in the case of Rollins v. Butland. In that case, a plaintiff brought a class action FDUTPA lawsuit against a termite removal company. The court threw out the class action FDUTPA claim on the grounds that many putative class members had no actual damages, meaning they could not pursue a claim. A motion to dismiss filed by the defendant was granted.
Documenting Losses is Key to Bringing a Successful FDUTPA Claim as a Plaintiff
For a plaintiff, the process of accurately documenting losses is pivotal to the success of an FDUTPA claim. Precise record-keeping of the monetary damages incurred, supported by receipts, contracts, or other tangible evidence, can make or break the case. Not only does this documentation serve as the proof of actual damages, but it also lends credibility to the plaintiff’s claim. Courts often demand rigor in substantiating the alleged losses, leaving no room for ambiguity or conjecture.
Speak to Our Miami, FL FDUTPA Lawyer For Help With Your Claim
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we are a solutions-driven law practice that handles the full range of deceptive and unfair trade practice cases. If you have any questions or concerns about damages in an FDUTPA claim, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team for a confidential consultation. We represent clients in Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Wellington, Jupiter, and all across South Florida.