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Are Punitive Damages Allowed Under The FDUTPA?


The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a Florida statute that protects people and businesses against unjust commercial practices. If your rights are violated under the law, you can file a claim for financial compensation. You may be wondering: Can you recover punitive damages under the FDUTPA? The short is ‘no’—but, in some cases, plaintiffs can seek punitive compensation through a concurrent claim. In this blog post, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices attorneys explain the most important things to know about punitive damages and FDUTPA claims.

What are Punitive Damages? 

For the most part, compensation in a lawsuit—whether it is a personal injury claim, breach of contract claim, or any other type of legal action—is tied to the plaintiff’s actual losses. Punitive damages are an exception to the general rule. In effect, they are a form of “penalty” damages that are paid to the victim, without being tied to any specific losses. 

The FDUTPA Does Not Allow for Punitive Damages 

You cannot recover punitive damages under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). Our state’s courts have been clear on this issue: The FDUTPA does not authorize an award of punitive damages. Instead, a plaintiff’s compensation for an FDUTPA violation is limited to their actual losses. It is essential that your damages are well-documented when pursuing an FDUTPA claim. Courts will not allow recovery for speculative damages. 

Complicating Factor: A FDUTPA Plaintiff May Have Additional Causes of Action 

As noted above, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act does not allow for the recovery of punitive damages. It is simply not an approved remedy. Nonetheless, some plaintiffs who have valid FDUTPA claims may actually be entitled to some form of punitive compensation. Although this seems like a contradiction on the surface, there is a good explanation for it:

  • In some FDUTPA cases, plaintiffs have several different causes of action. They may have had their rights violated under the FDUTPA and under other state or federal laws.

While you cannot recover punitive damages through your FDUTPA claim, you may have the right to bring other claims at the same time that do allow for the recovery of punitive compensation. Most often, this occurs when the plaintiff was a victim of outright fraud on the part of the defendant. A Florida civil fraud lawyer who has experience handling FDUTPA claims can review your case and help you identify every potential cause of action so that you can maximize your financial recovery. 

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a FDUTPA Lawyer in Florida

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our business & consumer fraud lawyers have deep experience handling FDUTPA claims. If you have any specific concerns about punitive damages and fraud, we are prepared to help. Call us now for a strictly private case evaluation. From our legal offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens, we represent businesses and consumers throughout all of Southeastern Florida, including in Miami-Dade County and Broward County.



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