Justia Florida Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Consumer Law
Laboratory Corp. of America v. Davis
The Supreme Court approved the decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in this workers' compensation dispute, holding that Fla. Stat. 440.13(11)(c), a section of the Workers' Compensation (WCL), does not preclude circuit court jurisdiction over claims brought under Fla. Stat. 559.77(1), a section of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA).In the proceedings below, the Second District concluded that a provision of the WCL vesting the Department of Financial Services (DFS) with exclusive jurisdiction to decide matters concerning workers' compensation reimbursement was inapplicable as a bar to suit by an injured worker against a healthcare provider for prohibited debt collection practices. The Supreme Court approved the result, holding that the matter at issue in this case under the FCCPA was not a matter concerning reimbursement subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of DFS. View "Laboratory Corp. of America v. Davis" on Justia Law
Krol v. FCA US, LLC
The Supreme Court held that the Federal Trade Commission's "single document rule," promulgated under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. 2301-2312, does not require the disclosure of a binding arbitration agreement.Petitioner bought a truck from Respondent. The parties' retail purchase order included a binding arbitration agreement for any dispute related to the truck's purchase. Petitioner eventually filed suit under the Act, and Respondent successfully moved to compel arbitration. Petitioner appealed, arguing that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable because it was not disclosed in a single document with other warranty terms, in violation of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) single document rule. The Fifth District affirmed, holding that a binding arbitration agreement is not an item covered by the single document rule's disclosure requirements. The Supreme Court approved the Fifth District's decision, holding that the existence of a binding arbitration agreement is not among the disclosures required by the FTC's single document rule. View "Krol v. FCA US, LLC" on Justia Law
Ham v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
The Supreme Court held that a unilateral attorney's fee provision in a credit card contract was made reciprocal to prevailing debtors under Fla. Stat. 57.105(7) where the debtors prevailed in an account stated action brought to collect unpaid credit card debt.The First District Court of Appeal held that the debtors could not recover attorney's fees on the grounds that section 57.105(7) was inapplicable because the actions for account stated did not rely upon the credit card contracts containing the fee provisions. The Supreme Court quashed the decision below, holding that section 57.105(7) allowed the debtors to recover reciprocal attorney's fees because the conditions required by the statute were met. View "Ham v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC" on Justia Law
Cortez v. Palace Resorts, Inc.
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
McKenzie Check Advance of Fla., LLC v. Betts
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
Diamond Aircraft Indus., Inc. v. Horowitch
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
Sosa, etc. v. Safeway Premium Fin. Co., etc.
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