When it comes to consumer class actions, recent Florida precedent swings in favor of plaintiffs seeking class certification. On May 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed class certification in the case of Carriuolo v. General Motors, an action brought pursuant to the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
In Carriuolo, the Eleventh Circuit construed FDUPTA to focus on whether a practice is deceptive or misleading to the objectively “reasonable consumer” rather than focusing on the subjective reliance of each consumer when purchasing a product. As such, the Carriuolo decision favors aggrieved consumers who wish to bring class action claims by reducing defendants’ ability to challenge the “predominance” requirement for class certification. The “predominance” requirement tests whether “questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members” and is often the toughest obstacle in obtaining class certification. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3); see also Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220(b)(3)(setting forth state court counterpart for class certification). As a result, Carriuolo is an important decision and represents the most recent ruling in a line of cases that broadly construe FDUPTA and promote class action litigation as a mechanism to effect FDUPTA’s broad, remedial purpose of consumer protection. Continue reading