FTSA TCPA Telemarketing telemarketer note pad lawsuit

FTSA Lawsuit Update

Readers of our blog may recall a recent piece in which we discussed a Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (“FTSA”) lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. In Morris v. Lincare, Inc., Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s FTSA lawsuit on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to plead actual damages as required to maintain a class action under Fla. Stat. § 768.734(2). Although the Court granted Defendant’s motion in part, significantly, the Court declined to dismiss Plaintiff’s FTSA claim. We discuss the Court’s decision in further detail below.  

FTSA Lawsuit Survives Dismissal 

Plaintiff, Janet Morris, filed a class action lawsuit against defendant, Lincare Holdings, Inc., for alleged statutory violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. (the “TCPA”), and the FTSA. After Morris amended the complaint twice, Lincare moved to dismiss: (1) the TCPA and FTSA claims; and (2) Morris’ request for injunctive relief. In support of its motion to dismiss, Lincare argued that Morris’ FTSA class claim must be dismissed pursuant to Florida Statute § 768.734 (“Fla. Stat. § 768.734”) because Plaintiff alleged only statutory, not actual, damages. Fla. Stat. § 768.734 states that “in order to maintain a class action seeking statutory penalties under chapters 302, 501, and 521, the class action claimants must allege and prove actual damages.” Because Morris failed to allege any damages beyond the statutory damages permitted under the FTSA, Lincare argued that Morris lacked capacity to sue under Fla. Stat. § 768.734.  

In opposition to Lincare’s motion, Morris argued that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (the federal rule governing class actions) preempts Fla. Stat. § 768.734 to the extent that it precludes FTSA claims from being brought as a class action. The Court agreed with Morris and allowed  Morris’ FTSA claims to proceed. After determining that Morris adequately pled the Rule 23 class action requirements, the Court looked to an Eleventh Circuit case for guidance. At issue in Lisk v. Lumber One Wood Preserving, LLC, 792 F.3d 1331 (11th Cir. 2015) was Alabama’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“ADTPA”). The ADTPA provides for a private right of action, but only allows the Alabama Attorney General or a district attorney to bring a class action. The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the ADTPA’s restriction on class actions did not apply in federal court actions and that Rule 23 controlled. In reaching its conclusion, the Lisk court determined that Rule 23 did not alter the substantive rights and obligations of the state substantive law.  

Applying the Eleventh Circuit’s reasoning in Lisk, the Court denied Lincare’s motion to dismiss on the basis that Fla. Stat. § 768.734 prohibits FTSA class actions seeking only a statutory penalty. Similar to Lisk, the Court held that “the FTSA is not substantively modified by Rule 23, and thus, Rule 23 is valid and applies in this action.” 

Impact of Lincare  

Until the Lincare decision, no Florida federal court had addressed the applicability of Fla. Stat. § 768.734 to FTSA class claims. Earlier this year, a Florida State court held that plaintiff could not maintain a class action for statutory damages under the FTSA without both alleging and proving actual damages. That decision offered a pathway to limiting potential FTSA liability. Now, the Court’s decision in Lincare forecloses this defense, leaving businesses susceptible to FTSA class claims in which plaintiffs only allege statutory damages.  

The attorneys at Klein Moynihan Turco have decades of telemarketing law experience. Although the FTSA is still a relatively new tool of the plaintiffs’ bar, our attorneys have already defended countless cases involving FTSA claims. Our first-rate litigation defense team will use this experience to ensure that your business gets the best possible representation.  

If you need assistance with updating your telemarketing practices and procedures or defending against a FTSA lawsuit, please email us at info@kleinmoynihan.com or call us at (212) 246-0900. 

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice nor is it a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. 

Attorney Advertising 

Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

Similar Blog Posts: 

Tooley: The Latest FTSA Class Action 

Are FTSA Lawsuits Here To Stay? 

FTSA Litigation: Have You Been Sued Under The Florida Telephone Solicitation Act? 

Share:

David Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes, and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.
FTSA TCPA Telemarketing telemarketer note pad lawsuit

FTSA Lawsuit Update

Readers of our blog may recall a recent piece in which we discussed a Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (“FTSA”) lawsuit pending in the United States

Read More »

Trending Topics