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What about FDUTPA?

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What about FDUTPA?

I hired an attorney to file a claim against a predatory lender for breach of contract, predatory lending, and other violations like RESPA, TILA,HOPA and so on. He would not file suit and would not make any effort to get evidence or do anything other then send out settlement offers one after the other, even after he was asked not to. he was causing long delays. He and the predators attorney tried to blackmail me into coming to a fake settlement meeting, they said they would not talk settlement with the other 19 clients till I would agree to appear in person. I was provided a copy of the emails in regards to that threat. I told the attorney I was looking for a new attorney and then he quit.

As to my question: 2 years later this same attorney filed suit against me for breach of contract. BUT, he filed the claim not more then 13 days after he may have read on a forum that I was complaining to other former unhappy clients about him.

I think he's just trying to keep me quiet :roll:. this same attorney posted stuff on forums about me and my case.

Since he filed suit he has also used my name and address on line, he also accepted emails on my behalf. I told the judge about this, she didn't seem to care. the attorney even admitted to the judge in court that he has posed as me and then gripped about me using a funny pic of him, I was trying to get him to stop posing as me, so posted a funny looking pic of him with a mustache.

What laws apply to this kind of thing?

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FDUTPA - What is this?

I was looking for information for my case and found this.

Description Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, F.S. [section]501.201 et seq., is a potentially powerful tool to redress unfair and deceptive trade practices as well as unfair methods of competition. However, uncertainty over the thrust of its provision permitting recovery of reasonable attorneys' fees by the prevailing party poses a problem for potential plaintiffs and their attorneys in evaluating whether to assert a FDUTPA claim.

Prior to an amendment in 1994, FDUTPA provided for the mandatory award of reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party. Plaintiffs thus faced an unambiguous exposure to fees incurred by successful defendants, (1) inevitably providing a substantial disincentive to the assertion of all but the clearest of FDUTPA claims. The statute was amended in 1994 (2) to provide that the award of fees to the prevailing party was no longer mandatory, but rather discretionary. However, there appears to be no case law construing the fee provision in its current form.

In the author's anecdotal personal experience, numerous attorneys who would otherwise be inclined to assert FDUTPA claims still refrain from doing so in light of continuing uncertainty over the circumstances in which their clients might be exposed to fee-shifting. These members of the bar include antitrust attorneys representing corporate clients as well as attorneys representing individual consumers or contemplating the assertion of consumer classwide claims. Furthermore, the discretionary nature of the provision is a caution with respect to "projecting the potential upside or downside of a potential case. Both plaintiffs' and defense counsel face the issue of what to inform their clients about the likelihood of fee shifting. The statute thus invites a comprehensive search for guidance and standards to govern the award of fees.

The Statutory Provisions

FDUTPA currently provides, at [section]521.2105:

In any civil litigation resulting from an act or practice involving a violation of this part... the prevailing party, after judgment in the trial court and exhaustion of all appeals, if any, may receive his or her reasonable attorneys' fees and costs from the nonprevailing party....

The trial judge may award the prevailing party the sum of reasonable costs in the action plus a reasonable legal fee for the hours actually spent on the case as sworn to in an affidavit.

On its face, the current provision does not set forth differing standards for plaintiffs and defendants. If those standards are the same, prevailing plaintiffs would still face a significant disincentive to filing suit.

There is essentially no legislative history pertaining to the change, one of a number of consumer protection measures contained in the same bill, other than a statement in the Journal of the Senate characterizing it as "providing for discretionary award of attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in an action for an unfair and deceptive trade practice." (3)

Related Public Policy Enforcement Precedent

Other relevant precedent, however, strongly suggests that prevailing plaintiffs should generally be awarded attorneys' fees, while prevailing defendants should be awarded such fees only when plaintiff's FDUTPA claim is frivolous or groundless.

In Standard Guaranty Insurance Co. v. Quanstrom, 555 So. 2d 828 (Fla. 1990), the Florida Supreme Court addressed whether use of a contingency fee multiplier is mandatory or discretionary in setting a reasonable attorney's fee to be awarded to a prevailing insured under F.S. [section]627.428 (judgment against insurer under an insurance contract). The court, as part of its analysis, found it appropriate to place attorneys' fee cases into the following three categories: (1) public policy enforcement cases; (2) tort and contract claims; and (3) family law, eminent domain, and estate and trust matters.... The first category relates to public policy enforcement cases, which led to the development of the lodestar approach. These cases generally present discrimination, environmental, and consumer protection issues. As noted, the primary purpose of these fee-authorizing statutes...

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