Douglas B. Brown
Doug Brown’s practice is exclusively commercial litigation. He represents clients in commercial litigation with a particular emphasis on consumer defense claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”), also known as Florida’s “Little FTC Act.” He routinely represents clients in class action litigation and also handles disputes between manufacturers and dealers as well as federal and state RICO claims.
More than fifty percent of Doug’s experience has been under FDUTPA. He has worked on several of the leading Florida cases involving the issue of causation and types of damages recoverable under the Little FTC Act.
His class action experience also includes working closely with national counsel on significant consumer class action matters in Florida and other states including California and Arkansas. These cases included successful AAA class actions and a series of cases based upon pattern and practice evidence, which were uniformly unsuccessful for the Plaintiffs.
Doug assists clients in developing in-house advertising substantiation programs, and has worked with several national companies. He writes and speaks on private litigants attempts to assert advertising substantiation theories, particularly in class actions, at state and national conferences. He works with marketing departments to minimize client’s exposure to class action advertising claims. Assistance is provided in matching representations to appropriate substantiation and providing advice based on currently available “safe harbors.”
Doug’s extensive knowledge in consumer defense litigation began by working for the State of Florida’s Antitrust Unit. As the second lawyer hired, he had responsibility for several cases in the state, including price fixing class actions. He then moved to the Atlanta Regional Office of the Federal Trade Commission for nine years which included significant responsibility for healthcare antitrust matters which resulted in several of the first consent decrees involving anti-competitive exclusions of podiatrists and nurse practitioners, as well as a leading vertical restraint case involving dealer influence on a manufacturers’ policies on extra-territorial sales.Antitrust matters comprised the majority of his work at the FTC including trying a geographic extension merger in the supermarket industry and a construction bid depository price tampering case.
693 F. 3d 1338 (11thCir. 2012)
Affirming order on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment under Lanham Act and FDUTPA on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to show the likelihood of confusion and other key elements.
790 So. 2d 1158 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001)
Homeowners sued the client, a pest control company, for “ stigma” damages arising from the treatment of their home for termites although the damage to the home had been repaired by the pest control company. Appeal followed a $300,000 verdict for the Plaintiffs. The appellate court reversed the jury verdict finding that “stigma” damages were not recoverable and that damages were limited to repair and replacement or diminution of the home’s value. In post appellate motions, the client sought and won recovery of its attorneys fees from the Plaintiffs.
872 So. 2d 259 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004)
(Co-counsel Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood) Reversal of trial court decision and enforcement of arbitration provision.
889 F. Supp. 475 (M.D. Fla. 1995)
Defendant’s summary judgment motion granted in an escrow liability case.
51 So. 2d 860 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006)
Rejecting a class action under Little FTC Act based on “pattern and practice evidence” holding that such evidence was not probative as to any other claim and stating that certification of such a claim would violate due process. (Co-counsel)
Mr. Brown persuaded the Florida Second District Court of Appeal to uphold the right to arbitration found in a pest control contract form.
812 F. Supp. 1218 (M.D. Fla. 1993)
Damages limited in dealer termination case and impact rule applied.
The Florida Second District Court of Appeal
902 So. 2d 143 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)
Attorneys Doug Brown and Rick Geller represented a national pest control company sued by the owners of an apartment complex. The parties’ form contract for drywood termite fumigation contained a clause requiring the parties to settle any disputes through binding arbitration. The apartment complex challeged the arbitration clause as “unconscionable” and as restricting statutory remedies. Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Gregory Holder rejected the apartment complex’s legal arguments and stayed the action pending arbitration. The Florida Second District Court of Appeal affirmed Judge Holder’s decision without opinion.
78 F.R.D. 441 (M.D. Fla. 1978)
Standing under indirect purchaser doctrine under Federal antitrust laws.
718 So. 2d 517 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998)
Court imposed strict causation requirements under the Little FTC Act.
Hillsborough County jury rejected a $10 million claim for past and future termite damage repair costs. The jury found in favor of RKC’s client, Orkin, on all counts. The Plaintiff also sought $30 million under the “Florida Civil Remedies Act,” and, through counsel, had announced an intention to seek $100 million in punitive damages.
744 So. 2d 1012 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999)
Affirmed without opinion. Summary judgment affirmed against Counter-Plaintiff in RICO claim and fees awarded against Counter-Plaintiff.
- Pesticides and Pest Control
- Retail and Hospitality
- Motor Vehicles
- The Florida Bar, Consumer Section
- American Bar Association, Antitrust Section — Member
Emory University School of Law — LL.M., Litigation, 1986
Florida State University College of Law — J.D., with high honors, 1977
Florida State University — M.A., American Studies, 1974
Emory University — B.A., History, 1973
- Georgia — 1981
- Florida — 1977
- U.S. District Courts of Florida (Northern, Middle, Southern)
- AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in Florida Super Lawyers 2012, 2014
- Listed in Florida Trend Legal Elite for Commercial Litigation
- Author, "TCPA Fax Class Actions Could Be An Endangered Species," Law360, August 1, 2019
- Speaker, "TCPA Litigation in Light of ACA International: Strategies and Practical Guide," The Knowledge Group Webinar, February 2019
- "Tips for Young Lawyers: The Corporate Representative Deposition," Trial Advocate Quarterly, FDLA, Spring 2017
- Speaker, "Advertising and Promotion for Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Biological and Veterinary Medicine Industries", FDLI, June 2014
- Speaker, "Important Developments in 2013, and Looking Ahead to 2014," FDLI, Nov. 2013
- Author, “Class Actions under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991,” 2010 Fall Issue, FDCC Quarterly
- Health Care Antitrust, Federal Trade Commission — Special Commendation — 1986
- “Florida Legislature Broadens the Scope of the Little F.T.C. Act,” Florida Bar Journal — Author — 1993
- Non-compete agreements for Lorman — Speaker
- "Little FTC Act," for The Florida Bar — Speaker
- Speaker, "False Advertising Class Action Litigation Under State Little FTC Acts," Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), September 2013
- Speaker, "Defense of Class Actions for False Advertising Under State Little FTC Acts," Retail Industry Leaders Association Annual Conference, Nov. 2012
- Orkin Exterminating Co., Inc. v. Delguidice, 790 So. 2d 1158 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001 (reversing “stigma” damage award of $300,000, as speculative and not authorized under contract and rejecting any consequential damages under FDUTPA).
- GMAC v. Laesser, 718 So. 2d 276, 279 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998) (reversing a jury award against GMAC for lack of evidence, causation, and concurring opinion by Judge Gross advocating application of Rule 9(b) pleading standard for FDUTPA claims).
- Rollins, Inc. v. Butland, 951 So. 2d 860 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (rejecting a class action under Little FTC Act based on “pattern and practice evidence” holding that such evidence was not probative as to any other claim and stating that certification of such a claim would violate due process). (Co-counsel).
- Rollins, Inc. v. Lighthouse Bay Holdings Ltd., 898 So.2d 86 (Fla. 2d DCA) (reversing trial court and compelling arbitration rejecting unconscionability argument).
- Served as primary Florida dealer counsel for a leading national boat manufacturer, and has defended manufacturers in distribution issues, including claims under the Federal Automobile Dealers Day in Court Act and the aptly named Florida Automobile Dealers’ Act.
- Successfully defended a developer that was sued by the Florida Attorney General for $225 million under an Unfair and Deceptive Trade Act claim. Defendants aggressively defended the case to the point that the Florida Attorney General dismissed its deception claims and proceeded on an abstract unfairness theory that was soon settled for an insubstantial amount. As part of that case, Doug worked with leading economists to prepare damage models including comparative alternatives to the challenged practices that analyzed the most likely changes in consumer welfare based upon those alternatives. This modeling demonstrated that any alleged consumer injury was outweighed by net consumer gains under the FTC’s unfairness policy.