2016 Florida Statutes
Suits for damages.
Suits for damages.
542.22 Suits for damages.—
(1) Any person who shall be injured in her or his business or property by reason of any violation of s. 542.18 or s. 542.19 may sue therefor in the circuit courts of this state and shall recover threefold the damages by her or him sustained, and the cost of suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. The court shall award a reasonable attorney’s fee to a defendant prevailing in any action under this chapter for damages or equitable relief in which the court finds there was a complete absence of a justiciable issue of either law or fact raised by the plaintiff.
(2) The Attorney General, or a state attorney after receiving written permission from the Attorney General, may bring a civil action in the name of the state, as parens patriae on behalf of natural persons residing in this state, to recover on behalf of those persons threefold the actual damages sustained by reason of any violation of s. 542.18 or s. 542.19, and the cost of such suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. The court shall exclude from the amount of monetary relief awarded in such action any amount of monetary relief which:
(a) Duplicates amounts which have been awarded for the same injury;
(b) Is properly allocable to natural persons who have excluded their claims pursuant to paragraph (3)(b); or
(c) Is properly allocable to any business entity.
(3) In any action under subsection (2):
(a) The Attorney General or state attorney shall, at such time, in such manner, and with such content as the court may direct, cause notice to be given to the proposed class by publication. If the court finds that notice given solely by publication would deny due process of law to any person or persons, the court shall direct further notice to such person or persons according to the circumstances of the case.
(b) Any person on whose behalf an action is brought under subsection (2) may elect to exclude from adjudication the portion of the claim for monetary relief attributable to her or him by filing notice of such election with the court within such time as specified in the notice given pursuant to paragraph (a). The final judgment in such action shall be res judicata as to any claim under this section by any person on behalf of whom such action was brought and who fails to give such notice within the period specified in the notice given pursuant to paragraph (a).
(c) No dismissal or compromise shall be entered without the approval of the court, and notice, if any, of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given in such manner as the court directs.
(d) Monetary relief shall be distributed in such manner as the court in its discretion may authorize, subject to the requirement that any distribution procedure adopted shall afford each person a reasonable opportunity to secure her or his appropriate portion of the net monetary relief.
(e) In any action under subsection (2) in which there has been a determination that a defendant agreed to fix prices in violation of s. 542.18, damages may be proved and assessed in the aggregate by statistical or sampling methods, by the computation of illegal overcharges, or by such other reasonable system of estimating aggregate damages as the court in its discretion may permit without the necessity of separately proving the individual claims of, or amounts of damage to, persons on whose behalf the suit was brought.
History.—s. 1, ch. 80-28; s. 753, ch. 97-103.