Civil Fraud Litigation in Florida

Civil Fraud Litigation Miami Litigation AttorneyCivil Fraud Litigation in Florida

Most civil fraud actions arise from a contract. Misrepresentation in a contract may be innocent or fraudulent. Depending on the circumstances, both can be grounds to make a contract voidable. If a misrepresentation is found to be fraudulent, then the victims can also sue for damages.

Criteria to Succeed on a Civil Fraud Cause of Action

To succeed on a civil fraud action, the following four criteria must be met:

  1. An false assertion of fact was made.
  2. The assertion was known the be false.
  3. Complainant relied on the assertion when entering the contract.
  4. Complainant’s reliance was justifiable.
  5. If the complainant in a civil fraud lawsuit is seeking to recover damages for deceit, they must also prove they suffered actual economic injury due to the reliance on the fraudulent assertion.

Damages

The Florida Civil Theft statute permits a victim of what amounts to criminal theft or fraud to sue for treble (triple) damages and attorney’s fees.

Types of Civil Fraud

Some examples of civil fraud actions include-

  • Contract fraud
  • Marriage fraud
  • Obtaining property by fraud
  • Ponzi Schemes Consumer fraud
  • Corporate fraud Investment fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Telemarketing Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Motor vehicle repair fraud

Civil Fraud Cause of Action for Business Entities

The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) creates a statutory cause of action for businesses that are victimized by the unlawful conduct of a competitor. FDUTPA is designed “to protect . . . legitimate [businesses] from those who engage in unfair methods of competition, or unconscionable, deceptive, or unfair acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” The statute allows a plaintiff to recover damages, obtain declaratory relief, and  recovery of attorney’s fees.

Limitations Period

The statute of limitations is four years.

Accrual Date

The limitations period begins to run when the facts giving rise to the cause of action is (or should have been discovered) by exercising due diligence. However, an action must be filed within 12 years after the alleged fraud occurs.

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