Federal Court In Florida Denies Class Certification In FDUTPA Ticket Refund Case
Under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), consumers and businesses have the ability to hold defendants liable for damages caused by unjust commercial practices. Many FDUTPA claims are class action lawsuits—where the plaintiffs assert that a business or organization caused damage to many parties due to their deceptive or otherwise unfair conduct.
Recently, a federal court in Florida denied a motion for class certification in a COVID-19-related FDUTPA claim that involved allegations of deceptive/unfair conduct related to ticket refunds. In this blog post, our West Palm Beach deceptive & unfair trade practices attorneys provide an overview of the case and explain why the court declined to allow the proposed class action to move forward.
Concert Cancelled: Many Receive Vouchers Instead of Direct Refunds
The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Florida has once again demonstrated that the virus is still impacting our communities. The pandemic has been going on for so long that the first wave of COVID-19 litigation has already made its way through the legal system. In this case, a Florida woman filed an FDUTPA lawsuit against Viagogo—a London-based ticket exchange and resale company—over a 2020 concert that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Based on the allegations raised to the court, Viagogo declined to issue direct refunds to all consumers affected by the cancellation. Instead, the company offered a 125 percent voucher good for future services. Concert-goers had the ability to opt-out of the voucher and obtain a refund instead, but that had to be done within 72 hours of receiving the notification email and had to complete a survey. The woman who filed the FDUTPA lawsuit seeking class action certification did not opt out in time.
Class Action Certification Denied: Failure to Establish Commonality and Typicality
Class action certification can be a valuable and powerful tool for consumers looking to hold a company liable for an FDUTPA violation. That being said, courts will only certify a class action lawsuit when certain requirements are met. Under state and federal rules of civil procedure, a plaintiff seeking class action certification must establish “commonality and typicality.”
In effect, this means that they have to prove that other plaintiffs truly do have similar claims. In this case, a judge dismissed the motion for class certification on the grounds that commonality and typicality were not established. As a key point, the federal judge emphasized that nearly 70 percent of ticket-goers who received the email followed the instructions and opted-out of the voucher in exchange for a full refund. The judge also noted that it could be assumed that the remaining 30 percent actually would have preferred a full refund instead of a 125 percent voucher.
Call Our Florida Deceptive and Unfair Commercial Practices Lawyers Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we provide proactive, solutions-driven legal representation to our clients. If you have any questions about FDUTPA claims, our attorneys are more than ready to help you find the best path forward. Call us now for a fully private review and evaluation of your case. We represent clients in West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and throughout Southeast Florida.