RumbergerKirk helps clients resolve conflicts under consumer protection laws including the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), Florida’s Deceptive Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other consumer statutes from other states. When assigned a consumer case, our goal is to understand the client’s business objectives and develop a cost-effective plan tailored to meet those objectives. Our team has extensive experience in defending such claims, including class actions, arbitrations and trial.
Actions under these laws can pose special problems for clients, because often the civil claims under these acts implicate potential criminal violations as well as violations potentially subjecting the client to severe civil penalties. We coordinate with criminal counsel in the defense of the civil related cases, while developing a strategy to resolve the civil issues as quickly as possible.
- We handle nearly every type of matter in which a FDUTPA claim might arise.
- We have written and lectured in the areas of the FDUTPA, and have formerly worked for federal and state consumer protection agencies.
- Assist clients with FDUTPA claims in cases involving breaches of warranty in the automotive and recreational product industries, pest control, and construction industries.
- We have also had success in “capping” potential FDUTPA damage claims to the amount of the “diminished value” of goods or services. This includes overturning “stigma” damage awards on appeal.
We have extensive class action practice in the areas of consumer litigation. We have had substantial responsibility on a number of leading class action cases in federal and state courts, and under the American Arbitration Association Class Action Rules.
- We defend national and local clients on all aspects of consumer collection laws, including the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
- We represent clients in both state, federal bankruptcy and appellate courts.
- Our successes include favorable opinions which have been instrumental in defining clients’ rights and obligations.
- We guide our clients on all levels, including policy decisions, procedures, and litigation strategy.
- Our team has experience tracking down and seizing assets to satisfy judgments.
- We provide services in commercial collections, collecting accounts receivable for businesses from their debtors. Much of this work is repetitive in nature, allowing us to collect accounts receivable in a cost-effective, efficient manner.
- We resolve many cases through an enforceable payment plan filed with the court, but when such resolution is not possible, we pursue judgments more aggressively through litigation and enforce those judgments through the use of garnishments and levies.
- Successfully defended class actions brought under FDUTPA, resulting in decisions which reject “bad act,” and “pattern and practice” evidence as a basis to certify class actions and emphasizing the Defendants’ due process rights to contest most allegations on a transaction by transaction basis.
- Successfully defended FDUTPA claims by establishing that repairs made to a “vessel” are essentially maritime contracts. In that regard, the courts will apply general federal maritime law to the dispute. Traditionally, claimants pair claims under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act with counts under FDUTPA. Both acts provide for an award of attorneys’ fees to the plaintiff if plaintiff prevails against the manufacturer. Our team established that general federal maritime law preempts claims for breach of warranty brought pursuant to the Magnuson Moss and Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act because they conflict with the award of attorneys’ fees under general federal maritime law.
- Successfully handled FDUTPA actions in connection with lawsuits brought by Florida’s Attorney General.
- Defeated efforts to attack arbitration agreements on a wide range of grounds, including unconscionability and alleged inconsistency with statutory remedies.
- Represented clients in actions involving the Federal Trade Commission, the Florida Department of Legal Affairs, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as enforcement agencies from other states.
- Represented owners of a small business, which suddenly found themselves subjected to a Temporary Restraining Order and Asset Freeze imposed by the FTC in federal court. We were able to aggressively fight the actions of the FTC and push a practical resolution of the case, while coordinating with the clients’ criminal counsel to insure that the civil action did not create any additional issues on the criminal front.
- Represented a large national family of businesses in actions brought by the Florida attorney general under FDUTPA. We successfully obtained dismissal of the AG’s claims and through aggressive discovery and legal arguments, resulting in a quick and advantageous resolution.
- Represented a national client with other leading firms in several putative class-action claims brought under various state consumer statutes.
- RumbergerKirk was successful in defeating class action certification in California for a national client by focusing the court’s attention on the untimeliness of Plaintiff’s motion to certify the putative class. In a related case, we were involved in defeating the class claim by forcing individualized arbitration.
- In Arkansas, we were involved in defeating a class claim by showing the class representative’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, making the class-representative and insufficient representative of the class.
- We were also involved defeating a statewide class arbitration action by defeating the class-representative’s claims on the same ground, as well as showing that the individual issues associated with each class member’s claims would make the class process unmanageable. Once class certification is defeated many plaintiffs simply abandon their claims or reduce their demands to a reasonable amount. These claims have also included multi-million dollar claims under the AAA’s class action rules, Regardless, we are prepared to defend the client with creative strategies that challenge the Plaintiffs’ legal theories on every legitimate grounds while simultaneously aggressively developing a strong factual record to attack not only liability issues, but standing, causation and damages.
- Representing an automobile manufacturer, along with national counsel, in a TCPA class action based on a claim that “ringless” voicemail technology violates the TCPA.
- Represented auto manufacturer in a TCPA class action based on robo-calls that were purportedly made by that manufacturer’s dealer.
- Represented a health insurance company in a TCPA class action in which we were able to have class action resolved in the very early stages for a nominal settlement of the individual plaintiff’s claim.