Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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Petitioner, a California resident, was sexually assaulted while vacationing in Mexico. The assault occurred while Petitioner received a complimentary massage in exchange for her attendance at a resort's timeshare presentation. Petitioner sued the resort, a corporation with its primary place of business in Florida, (the Florida Defendants) for negligent vacation packaging. The Florida Defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens, arguing that Mexico would be a more convenient forum. The trial court granted the motion. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court quashed the court of appeal's decision, holding that the court misapplied the forum non conveniens analysis, particularly by failing to afford a strong presumption in favor of Plaintiff's initial choice of an otherwise proper forum. View "Cortez v. Palace Resorts, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against a check advance company, asserting claims based on numerous Florida statutes. Plaintiffs later amended the complaint to add Tiffany Kelly as an additional plaintiff and named class member. Because Kelly had signed the version of Defendant's arbitration agreement that contained a class action waiver, this case focused on her contracts with Defendant. The trial court eventually denied Defendant's motion to compel arbitration, ruling that the class action waiver was unenforceable because it was void as against public policy. The court of appeal affirmed, finding that no other reasonable avenue for relief would be available if it enforced the class action waiver. After the court of appeal decided this case, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion. Applying the rationale of Concepcion to the facts set forth in this case, the Supreme Court quashed the court of appeal's decision, holding that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted invalidating the class action waiver in this case on the basis of the waiver being void as against public policy. View "McKenzie Check Advance of Fla., LLC v. Betts" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a resident of Arizona, sued Defendant, a foreign corporation that operates in Florida, after he contracted to buy an aircraft from Defendant but Defendant failed to deliver the aircraft. The U.S. district court applied Florida with respect to some of Plaintiff's claims and applied Arizona law to the remainder of the claims. The court also denied Defendant's motion for attorney's fees under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit certified several questions to the Florida Supreme Court. The Court answered (1) because Plaintiff invoked FDUTPA by filing an action asserting a claim seeking recovery under FDUTPA in which Defendant ultimately prevailed, Defendant was entitled to attorney's fees under FDUPTA; (2) Defendant was entitled to fees for only the period of litigation until the federal district court held that FDUPTA did not apply to Plaintiff's claim; (3) Florida's offer of judgment statute does not apply to cases that seek both equitable relief and damages and in which Defendant has served an offer of judgment that seeks release of all claims; and (4) even if Florida's offer of judgment statute applied in this case, Defendant would not be entitled to attorney's fees under that section. View "Diamond Aircraft Indus., Inc. v. Horowitch" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from a motion for class certification filed in the trial court by petitioner where petitioner claimed that respondent violated sections 627.840(3)(b) and 627.835, Florida Statutes, by knowingly overcharging him an additional service charge of $20 twice in a twelve month period in two premium finance agreements which he entered into with respondent. At issue was whether the putative class members satisfied the requirements of commonality and predominance needed for class certification under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220. The court held that the Third District's decision was incorrect because it afforded no deference to the trial court's actual factual findings and conducted a de novo review which constituted error where the proper appellate standard of review for a grant of class certification was abuse of discretion. The court also held that the Third District incorrectly addressed whether petition satisfied section 627.835's "knowingly" requirement and incorrectly held that petitioner and the putative class members failed to satisfy rule 1.220's commonality and predominance requirements. Therefore, the court held that the Third District created conflict with Olen Properties Corp. v. Moss and Smith v. Glen Cove Apartments Condominiums Master Ass'n. Accordingly, the court quashed the Third District's judgment. View "Sosa, etc. v. Safeway Premium Fin. Co., etc." on Justia Law