Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Consumer Law
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Winn-Dixie sells Bacardi’s Bombay Gin in its stores. According to Bombay’s marketing and labeling, the gin contains ten “hand-selected botanicals from exotic locations around the world,” including “grains of paradise.” Marrache filed a class action under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) and for unjust enrichment, alleging that the inclusion of grains of paradise violated Florida Statute 562.455.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. FDUTPA’s safe harbor provision exempts acts or practices required or specifically permitted by federal law. Under the Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA had expressly identified grains of paradise as a substance “generally recognized as safe.” In addition, the complaint did not sufficiently allege any actual damages resulting from the purported unfair or deceptive act. Marrache’s amended complaint made no allegations of actual damages, but rather, alleged that he and the other class members were injured by purchasing an illegal product that he claimed was worthless. Marrache did not, however, allege that he could not or did not drink the gin, that he sought a refund of or complained about the Bombay, or that he suffered any side effect, health issue, or harm from the grains of paradise. View "Marrache v. Bacardi U.S.A., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit concluded that, under Florida law, the policy exclusion barring coverage for claims arising out of an invasion of privacy unambiguously excludes coverage for claims alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) in which the complaint repeatedly alleges that defendants invaded the privacy of plaintiffs. The court explained that the invasion of privacy exclusion barred coverage for the class action here because the class complaint specifically alleged that iCan intentionally invaded the class members' privacy and sought recovery for those invasions. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Liberty. View "Horn v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Experian, alleging that the credit reporting agency violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act's (FCRA) requirements. The district court concluded that Experian did not violate the FCRA and granted summary judgment in favor of the agency.After determining that plaintiff had Article III standing, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that plaintiff's claims that Experian negligently violated 15 U.S.C. 1681e and 1681i by failing to undertake reasonable procedures to ensure maximal accuracy in its credit reports, and to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation of disputed information, survive summary judgment. However, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to establish that Experian acted willfully where the agency's interpretation could reasonably have found support in the courts. Accordingly, the court vacated in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Losch v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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After a debt collector electronically transmitted data concerning a consumer's debt to a third-party vendor, the third-party vendor then used the data to create, print, and mail a "dunning" letter to the consumer. The consumer then filed suit alleging that, in sending his personal information to the vendor, the debt collector had violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692c(b), which, with certain exceptions, prohibits debt collectors from communicating consumers' personal information to third parties "in connection with the collection of any debt." The district court dismissed the action.The Eleventh Circuit held that a violation of section 1692c(b) gives rise to a concrete injury in fact under Article III. The court also concluded that the debt collector's transmittal of the consumer's personal information to its dunning vendor constituted a communication "in connection with the collection of any debt" within the meaning of section 1692c(b). Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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Plaintiff filed suit against PDQ, a restaurant he patroned, after a data breach that exposed PDQ customers' personal financial information. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal without prejudice and held that plaintiff did not have standing to sue based on the theory that he and a proposed class of PDQ customers are now exposed to a substantial risk of future identity theft. The court explained that plaintiff failed to allege either that the data breach placed him in a "substantial risk" of future identity theft or that identity theft was "certainly impending." The court stated that evidence of a mere data breach does not, standing alone, satisfy the requirements of Article III standing, and thus plaintiff does not have standing here based on an "increased risk" of identity theft. In the alternative, the court held that plaintiff has not suffered actual, present injuries in his efforts to mitigate the risk of identity theft caused by the data breach. View "I Tan Tsao v. Captiva MVP Restaurant Partners, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Navient and SAC after he received almost 2,000 calls regarding his unpaid student loan, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Navient and SAC, agreeing with the district court that plaintiff expressly consented to receive Navient and SAC's calls. In this case, plaintiff reconsented to receive automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and prerecorded calls by submitting an online demographic form. View "Lucoff v. Navient Solutions, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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Plaintiff filed suit against First Advantage, claiming that the company's upsetting report failed to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act's "maximum possible accuracy" standard.The Eleventh Circuit held that a report must be factually incorrect, objectively likely to mislead its intended user, or both to violate the maximal accuracy standard of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The court concluded that First Advantage did not violate the Act and thus there was no willful violation or any actionable reputational harm. In this case, the report was factually accurate where it stated that a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania shared plaintiff's first and last name. Furthermore, the report did not wrongfully attribute that record to plaintiff where it explained that the matching record was located using a name-only search and cautioned that the record might not be plaintiff's at all. View "Erickson v. First Advantage Background Services Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and individually, filed a class action alleging that the Ritz-Carlton violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Florida's tax regulations. Plaintiff's complaint stemmed from allegations that he and others paid illegal automatic gratuities and sales taxes at Ritz-Carlton’s forty-nine restaurants in Florida over the last four years. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on lack of standing. The district court also dismissed the tax refund claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the tax refund claim based on exhaustion grounds. However, the court held that the district court erred in finding that plaintiff did not have standing to represent the class because he only paid the illegal automatic gratuity at three of Ritz-Carlton's restaurants. The court agreed with plaintiff that the class complaint alleged in good faith that the amount-in-controversy for the hundreds of thousands of Ritz-Carlton guests in Florida that unlawfully paid an automatic gratuity over the last four years exceeded $5 million. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Fox v. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Dish Networks in plaintiff's action for breach of contract and violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Plaintiff alleges that Dish negligently and willfully violated the FCRA by requesting and obtaining a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency after an identity thief fraudulently submitted some of plaintiff's personal information to Dish. Plaintiff also alleges that Dish's actions violated a settlement agreement that the parties signed after a similar incident occurred several years ago involving the same parties.The court held that Dish had a "legitimate business purpose" under the FCRA when it obtained plaintiff's consumer report. The court also held that Dish did not violate the settlement agreement where the district court correctly found that plaintiff's claim failed to establish the breach element. View "Domante v. Dish Networks, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to pursue their claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Plaintiffs alleged that collection letters were misleading and unfair in falsely suggesting that they could be sued or that the debt could be reported to credit-rating agencies. The court wrote that plaintiffs seek to recover for representations that they contend were misleading or unfair, but without proving even that they relied on the representations, much less that the reliance caused them any damages. View "Trichell v. Midland Credit Management, Inc." on Justia Law