Understanding The FDUTPA’s Bar On The Recovery Of Consequential Damages
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is a state law that strictly forbids businesses from engaging in misleading or abusive commercial conduct. The FDUTPA gives consumers (and other businesses) the right to file a lawsuit for damages related to deceptive or otherwise unfair commercial practices.
The FDUTPA allows plaintiffs to recover compensation for actual damages. However, the statute explicitly does not allow for the recovery of consequential damages. Within this article, our West Palm Beach deceptive trade practices lawyer explains what you need to know about Florida’s bar on recovery of consequential damages under the FDUTPA.
What are Consequential Damages?
Also sometimes referred to simply as ‘special damages’, consequential damages are damages that occurred because of one party’s failure to live up to a certain legal obligation. They are a form of expectation damages. In other words, consequential damages are “indirect” damages that flow out of the unlawful/improper conduct of the defendant. Notably, consequential damages can be sought in a breach of contract case in Florida.
FDUTPA Does Not Allow Recovery for Consequential Damages
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) does not permit recovery for consequential damages. If you suffered losses due to the deceptive or unfair conduct of a business in Florida, you cannot seek consequential damages as part of your FDUTPA claim. In the 1998 case of Fort Lauderdale Lincoln v. Corgnati, a Florida appeals court clearly articulated the state bar on consequential damages in FDUTPA cases.
In holding that state law bars plaintiff recovery for consequential damages, the appeals court limited the amount that Mr. Corgnati could recover from an auto dealership’s misleading practices to his actual losses. It disallowed him from obtaining compensatory damages for “additional out-of-pocket costs” sustained as an indirect consequence of the FDUTPA violation.
Plaintiffs are Limited to “Actual Damages” in an FDUTPA Claim
Although consumers and businesses in Florida cannot recover consequential damages through an FDUTPA claim, the law still provides a powerful and important legal remedy to challenge deceptive and unfair practices. Parties always have the right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for any actual damages that they sustained as a direct result of deceptive or unfair practices. Broadly speaking, Florida law defines “actual damages” as the fair market value difference between the goods/services that the plaintiff was promised and the goods/services that they actually received. To maximize your recovery through an FDUTPA claim, it is crucial that your losses are thoroughly documented.
Get Legal Help From Our FDUTPA Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida deceptive/unfair trade practices attorneys are experienced legal advocates for clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the damages that can be recovered through an FDUTPA, we can help. Reach out to us by phone and send us a direct message to arrange your strictly private, no commitment case assessment. We provide FDUTPA legal services throughout South Florida, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.