Have you been taken advantage of by someone in a purchase or contract? This happens often when someone purchases something over the internet. Florida has a very large population of elderly individuals. Because many elderly persons are vulnerable and subject to exploitation some of Florida’s laws are more stringent than in other states. While elderly persons are the most preyed upon, anyone can be taken advantage of in a given situation and their money taken. If this has happened to you, you may have remedies under Florida’s Civil Theft Statute. Contact your local Jacksonville elder law attorney to find out if you have a case.
Florida’s Civil Theft statute can be found at §772.11 titled Civil remedy for theft or exploitation. This statute provides that any person who can prove by clear and convincing evidence that he/she has been injured in any fashion by reason of any violation of Florida’s criminal statutes §812.012-812.037 or §825.103(1) has a cause of action for threefold (or 3 times) the actual damages sustained and, in any such action, is entitled to minimum damages in the amount of $200, and reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs in the trial and appellate courts. The criminal statute that covers theft is §812.014 and that generally is the statute you look at to determine if you have a civil theft case.
There are procedures that must be followed before making a civil theft claim. You must send a demand letter to the potential defendant and give them 30 days to make payment on the treble damages you will be alleging in your complaint. If that person complies and makes payment, a written release from civil liability for the specific act of theft or exploitation must be given to the defendant. You should consult your Jacksonville family law attorney for assistance if you believe you are the victim of civil theft.
If you are an elderly (65 years or older) or disabled person and you are the victim of civil theft or exploitation, section (5) of Florida’s Civil Theft Statute allows the Court to advance your case on the trial docket. The presiding Judge, after considering the age and health of a party, may advance the trial on the docket upon motion by a party. Contact your local Jacksonville elder law attorney for assistance with your case.
About the Author
B. Elaine Jones is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law and guardianship law for over 25 years in Florida. Ms. Jones is an associate with the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida. Ms. Jones previously had a solo practitioner firm in Hillsborough County for over 25 years and joined Attorney Goldman’s firm in November of 2020. You can contact Ms. Jones at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation in most cases.