The Three Things You Need To Prove To Bring A Successful FDUTPA Claim
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a state law designed to protect consumers and businesses against unfair commercial practices. If you or your company sustained losses due to illegitimate commercial practices, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This raises an important question: what do you need to show to bring a successful FDUTPA claim? In this article, our West Palm Beach deceptive & unfair trade practice lawyers highlight the three key things you need to prove to bring a winning FDUTPA lawsuit in Florida.
- A Deceptive or Unfair Trade Practice
The FDUTPA protects individuals, organizations, and companies against unlawful business practices. To bring a successful claim under the act, you must first prove that the defendant actually engaged in a deceptive practice or unfair practice. Here is how those terms have been defined by Florida courts:
- Deceptive Commercial Practice: A business practice is unlawfully deceptive under the FDUTPA if it would be likely to deceive a reasonable person. In general, a plaintiff bringing a claim for deception must prove a material misrepresentation or a material omission.
- Unfair Commercial Practice: Under the FDUTPA, an unfair business practice is one that is unethical, oppressive, or immoral. A commercial practice can be unlawfully unfair even if not technically deceptive.
Next, the plaintiff in an FDUTPA claim must allege causation between the alleged deceptive/unfair practice and their damages. Without causation, there is no liability under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. If you or your company is preparing to file a legal claim under the FDUTPA, you should be prepared to demonstrate that you suffered harm because of the deceptive or unfair commercial conduct of the defendant(s). If you have any questions about proving causation, an experienced Florida attorney can help.
- Actual Damages
Finally, a civil FDUTPA claim requires actual damages. Without actual harm, you do not have the right to recover financial compensation through a lawsuit. As an example, imagine that you discovered that a Palm Beach County contractor was engaged in serious false advertising. The company intentionally gives lowball estimates to homeowners, only to add on major fees at the end of a project. Florida courts have consistently ruled that this type of conduct can qualify as an FDUTPA violation. However, if you did not purchase actual purchase services from the contractor and you do not operate a competing business, you did not suffer actual damages as a consequence of the violation. Therefore, you would not be the right party to file a legal claim.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With an FDUTPA Lawyer in South Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business fraud attorneys have deep experience handling FDUTPA claims. If you are preparing to file an FDUTPA lawsuit, we are here to help. Call our legal team today for a confidential review and evaluation of your case. From our West Palm Beach, Wellington and Miami law offices, we represent clients in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and Broward County.