Consumer Injury Is An Essential Requirement Of An FDUTPA Claim
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) bars businesses from commercial practices that are unfair, deceptive, unconscionable, or otherwise against public policy. Most FDUTPA claims are filed by consumers—either an individual consumer or as part of a class action.
That being said, non-consumers can file an FDUTPA claim. To bring a successful claim under this law, a business must prove “consumer injury.” In this blog post, our West Palm Beach deceptive and unfair trade practices attorneys provide an overview of the relevant Florida state case law.
FDUTPA Lawsuits: Non-Consumers Must Prove a Consumer Injury
As explained, the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is not restricted only to consumers. State courts have made it clear that non-consumers have a right to bring a claim under the statute. In the 2015 case of Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc. v. Better Bus. Bureau of Palm Beach County, Inc., the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal set a clear standard on this matter. Here are two key things to know about the decision:
- Motion to Dismiss on Grounds of No Standing Denied: Caribbean Cruise Line filed an FDUTPA lawsuit against the Palm Beach County branch of the BBB on the grounds that the organization made misleading representations. In response the BBB filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that Caribbean Cruise Line—a business that purchased no products or services from the BBB—had no standing under the law. That motion to dismiss was denied. The Florida appeals court determined that state law does not require a plaintiff to be a consumer.
- Consumer Injury Emphasized as a Required Element: In its ruling, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal emphasized that consumer injury remains a required element of a successful FDUTPA claim. Non-consumers are allowed to file a lawsuit against a business or organization under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act—but in doing so, they must allege that some specific consumers suffered harm as a consequence of the alleged violations by the defendant.
Notably, the court ruled in favor of the cruise line and against the BBB of Palm Beach County. It found that the misrepresentations made by the BBB had an adverse effect on consumers seeking information about cruise services. As such, Caribbean Cruise Line had the right to file an FDUTPA lawsuit—even though they were not the consumer that suffered the damages. The remedy pursued by Caribbean Cruise Line was, among other things, an injunction to get the BBB to stop the offending conduct.
Get Help From a Business Litigation Firm With Experience Handling FDUTPA Claims
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business litigation attorneys have the skills and experience to represent plaintiffs and defendants in FDUTPA claims. If you have any questions about the consumer injury element, we can help. Call us now or connect with us through our website for a completely private initial consultation. Our law firm handles FDUTPA claims in West Palm Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and throughout the surrounding communities.