11th Circuit Issues Favorable Ruling for Consumers Seeking Class Certification

CaptureBy Erin E. Bohannon

Erin (Kluger)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

Workers are dressing more casually. Does that affect productivity?

Miami Herald titleBy Cindy Krischer Goodman

As the summer brings sweltering heat, office dress is shifting. Skirts and sleeves are shorter, sandals are prevalent, and both seasoned professionals and the summer’s crop of interns test the boundaries of casual dress.

But as office dress codes become more relaxed, some employers worry that the work ethic will weaken. Will wearing polo shirts to the office discourage employees from staying past 6 p.m.? Will dressing in khakis instead of a power suit make a manager less likely to invite clients to lunch? Will wearing sandals lessen someone’s motivation to negotiate a deal?

Alan Kluger_063 greySome employers give their employees leeway to dress up or down, asking mostly that they “be presentable” in the office. At the Miami law firm of Kluger Kaplan, lawyers often walk the hallways in nice jeans and a button-down shirt. But when they go to court, Alan Kluger urges attorneys to dress the part and insists it creates confidence and credibility: “If you’re in front of a jury, you want to be the lawyer they want to hire. Dress makes a difference in the courthouse, it just does.”

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Judge Sides With Sweetwater Mayor in Budget Fight

Captureby Celia Ampel, Daily Business Review

Days after warning Sweetwater commissioners that the city will be broke by August, the mayor won court approval Monday to use his version of the budget.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Barbara Areces ruled that the commission had violated Florida law by balancing the budget with the anticipated proceeds from the sale of a real estate parcel that, at the time, hadn’t even been listed.

The budget the commission approved at a September meeting also reinstated salaries for city employees laid off by Mayor Orlando Lopez and excluded pay for Lopez’s hires in the west Miami-Dade suburb. Areces found the commission did not have the power to appoint or remove administrative employees reporting to the mayor.

Kluger July 14“Basically, this mayor’s back in charge of the city, and they’re running off his tentative budget, which is a balanced budget,” said Alan Kluger of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine in Miami. Kluger and his colleagues Todd Levine and Jorge Delgado represented the mayor.

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View from the Bench

Flyer ImageThe Daily Business Review and the Dade County Bar Association are teaming up to host a panel discussion that is set to give attendees an inside look at dealing with media and ethics in the courtroom. “A View from the Bench: A High-Profile Conversation” will be moderated by former Judge Ronald C. Dresnick, who since leaving the bench is now a partner at Kluger Kaplan focusing his practice on complex commercial litigation, white-collar defense, securities litigation and internal investigations.

This conversation will discuss the proper and ethical approaches to handling cases in the courtroom, dealing with TV and print reporters and also the ins and outs of social media. The panel will also feature Kluger Kaplan’s own Founding Member, Alan Kluger, as well as Judge Michael A. Hanzman or Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Karen Kammer of Mitraniof Mitrani Rynor Adamsky & Toland PA, Katie S Phang of Berger Singerman, Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. or Southern District of Florida, Marty Steinberg of Hogan Lovells US LLP, and Judge John W. Thornton, Jr. of Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.

To register, click here.  Look forward to seeing you on June 24.

 Daily Business Review and Dade County Bar Association
Proudly Presents:

Flyer ImageView from the Bench: A High-Profile Conversation

Friday, June 24, 2016
Hyatt Regency Miami

11:30 AM – Networking
Noon – Lunch and Program

Join several of South Florida’s most experienced judges and trial lawyers, as they engage in a high-profile conversation on using the media to win your case.  This seminar provides instruction on handling the media, issuing press releases, the advantages of unique disadvantages of media exposure, and an in-depth discussion on when and how your clients should address the press.  The program begins with a networking session of federal & state judges, in-house counsel, and attorneys.

Seminar Panelists include:

Moderator
Judge Ronald C. Dresnick (Ret.)
Kluger Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, PL

Panelists
Judge Michael A. Hanzman
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida

Karen Kammer
Mitrani Rynor Adamsky & Toland PA

Alan Kluger
Kluger Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, PL

Katie S. Phang
Berger Singerman

Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.
Southern District of Florida

Marty Steinberg
Hogan Lovells US LLP

Judge John W. Thornton, Jr.
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida

For more information contact Joanne Beaudry at jbeaudry@alm.com or

(305) 347-6643  Click to Register

   For sponsorship info. contact Carlos Curbelo @ccurbelo@alm.com or (305) 347-6647

“Born in Brazil” Vita Coco Sued Over its Source

DBR 2By Celia Ampel, Daily Business Review

Miami lawyers are suing the makers of Vita Coco coconut water, alleging packaging that says “Born in Brazil” is misleading because some products are manufactured in other countries.

The class action aims to follow the success of another Southern District of Florida lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch over its marketing of Beck’s Beer. The company agreed last year to pay about $20 million and change the beer’s packaging to settle claims that it led customers to believe Beck’s was brewed in Germany rather than St. Louis.

“The Southern District found that the term ‘originated in Germany’ was deceptive and could reasonably mislead a consumer about where the product was made,” said Richard Segal, who is representing the Vita Coco plaintiffs with Philippe Lieberman and Steve Silverman, all of Kluger Kaplan in Miami. ” ‘Born in Brazil’ is directly analogous to ‘originated in Germany.’ ”