The Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA), codified at section 501.059, Florida Statutes, has spawned a tidal wave of lawyer-driven class action litigation since its most recent amendment in July 2021 – with an estimated 500-plus cases filed in that short timeframe. The FTSA has been a sizable thorn in the side of corporate America, with settlements ranging in the millions of dollars. As it stands currently, the FTSA requires a company to obtain "prior express written consent" from the "called party" before it can "make" or "knowingly allow [to be made]" a telephonic sales call using "an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers," or what we in the business sometimes refer to as an "autodialer." Fla. Stat. § 501.059(8)(a).
As of May 2, 2023, both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate have passed HB 761/SB 1308, which contains new proposed amendments that would render the FTSA all but useless for the plaintiffs' bar. Specifically, the proposed amendments would:
- Limit the application of the FTSA's "autodialer" provision to unsolicited calls.
- Limit the definition of "autodialer" to an automated system that both selects and dials telephone numbers (as opposed to systems that do only one or the other).
- With respect to cases involving text messages, require plaintiffs to provide potential defendants with 15 days' notice and an opportunity to cease sending text messages before commencing an action for damages.
- Apply retroactively to any putative class action not certified on or before the effective date of the amendment (but not to individual actions).
Now, the bill is headed to Governor Ron DeSantis's desk, and the proposed amendments are effective as soon as he signs it. Stay tuned.
Buchanan's class action defense litigators have successfully defended many FTSA lawsuits against large and small companies. In addition, our government relations professionals maintain regular communication with regulators, lawmakers at the state and federal level, and leaders from across the industry to ensure our clients are in the loop on the latest trends impacting consumer-facing entities. Contact our team with questions about the FTSA or how to comply with it. In the meantime, stay tuned for further updates on the proposed amendment.
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