CORAL GABLES, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On March 22, 2023, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court ruling certifying a class action affecting 4.4 million people against America’s largest electric utility company, Florida Power & Light (“FPL”). The class action stems from “storm charges” imposed by FPL to supposedly harden its systems. Plaintiffs claim that FPL failed to use reasonable diligence by failing to meet National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) standards and its own standards, and that as a result of FPL’s breaches, Florida residents suffered unnecessary and prolonged power outages when Hurricane Irma sideswiped South Florida.
FPL’s own witness testified that the power outages cost the state of Florida billions of dollars. Plaintiffs suffered consequential damages such as loss of food and incurred expenses, loss of income, loss of sleep, intense discomfort, and more.
The extensive appellate opinion issued by the Third District Court of Appeal is based on detailed factual findings by the trial court and essentially creates a roadmap for how FPL’s very own data can be used to prove liability for damages in favor of the class members. Citing the unique analytics and use of FPL’s data and metrics by plaintiffs’ counsel, the Third District Court of Appeal noted that “plaintiffs can use FPL’s data to prove FPL’s liability for the entire class.”
Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel, John H. Ruiz, Founder of MSP Recovery Law Firm LLP and CEO and Founder of MSP Recovery d/b/a LifeWallet (NASDAQ: LIFW), whose technology and data systems were used at the trial court level to certify the class, stated: “FPL wields a lot of power as an energy provider within the state of Florida, routinely seeking rate hikes, and has nothing to show for it. Today’s opinion and its lengthy analysis by the court demonstrates that the law and our lawsuit uphold accountability and responsibility, in that you need to actually do what you promise you’re going to do, and if you don’t, you’ll be held accountable.”
Hurricane Irma affected the state of Florida in 2017 and left an unusually elevated power outage situation for many Florida residents and businesses. Years before, FPL sought and received rate hike permission in the form of “storm charges” to its Florida customers under the reasoning that the extra funds being collected were for hardening infrastructure and other related considerations caused by hurricanes affecting the peninsula. FPL’s infrastructure failed during Hurricane Irma, sparking a class action which reviewed and analyzed FPL’s own mountain of data and metrics by LifeWallet and its proprietary data systems.
The detailed results, presented in a 3-day class certification hearing in Miami-Dade County before the Honorable David C. Miller, demonstrated without question that the “storm charges” were either ineffective or superfluous and in breach of the required purpose of the charges. The class action is set to continue through further discovery phases now that the appellate court has weighed in and allowed the matter to proceed.
The plaintiffs are represented by John H. Ruiz and Alexis Fernandez of MSP Recovery Law Firm, J. Alfredo Armas, Francesco Zincone, and Eduardo E. Bertran of Armas Bertran Zincone, Gonzalo Dorta of Dorta Law, and Julio Acosta of Acosta Law Firm. Any person or business that had services provided by FPL and lost power during hurricane Irma can submit their claimed losses to Class counsel. For more, visit: www.fplclassaction.com
About MSP Recovery Law Firm LLP
MSP Recovery Law Firm’s experienced attorneys have litigated more than 100 class actions related to insurance proceeds, federal, and state statutes. As far back as 1995, MSP attorneys have taken on and prevailed against some of the largest companies in Florida and the United States. From representing more than 30,000 individuals in a class action against the Florida Department of Agriculture, to being selected as lead class counsel in numerous lawsuits against the largest automobile insurance companies throughout the United States, MSP Recovery Law Firm’s attorneys have the knowledge and experience to address even the most complicated and data-driven class actions. For more information please visit: msprecoverylawfirm.com
For FPL Customers Who Lost Power During Hurricane Irma: