Statutory Civil Theft
Statutory civil theft claims govern disputes where your property was intentionally taken by another individual or corporation, and that party refuses to return your property upon request. Since this is a civil case, no criminal penalties, such as jail time, are administered. Instead, you can recover monetary damages for the theft of your property. The consumer rights lawyers at Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter can help you recover your monetary damages.
In the state of Florida, you may recover three times the value of the property which has been taken from you as part of your statutory civil theft claim. It is important to understand that civil theft claims only apply to disputes over tangible property, not unpaid debts.
In order to file a statutory civil theft claim, you must first provide written notice to the party who has taken your property requesting its return. This party has 30 days from the receipt of this notice to comply with the request. If your property has not been returned by the end of this time period, you can then file a statutory civil theft claim to recover monetary damages for your loss.
It is important to keep the following points in mind when considering whether to file a statutory civil theft claim:
- Economic loss is generally not covered under civil theft statutes
- In order to successfully recover damages, you must prove that there is “substantial fact or legal support” for your claim
Economic loss refers to damages incurred by loss in value or loss of profits not covered under a personal injury claim. They are considered to be a breach of contract, and therefore covered under contract law rather than tort law. As a result, you are not able to recover damages for financial loss in a civil theft claim.
The second point regarding the need to provide “substantial fact and legal support” for a civil theft claim relates to the ability to recover attorney’s fees. In a Florida statutory civil theft claim, the defendant will be responsible for your attorney’s fees if you are successful in proving your case. However, you may be held responsible for the defendant’s legal fees if the court determines that your claim lacks “substantial fact or legal support.” In other words, if you do not have clear and convincing evidence in support of your civil theft claim, the court may order you to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees.
Contingency Fee Commercial Litigation
The Orlando commercial litigation attorneys at Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter believe that every individual should have access to high quality legal representation, regardless of their financial resources. As a result, we handle all commercial litigation claims on a contingency fee basis. In other words, we only earn a fee if you win.
Our attorneys will share all risks in your statutory civil theft claim with you. Since we don’t charge an hourly rate, you can be confident that every action we take is in your best interests. We will never drag out litigation to pad our bill.
Please contact our Orlando, Florida commercial litigation attorneys today to schedule your free initial consultation at Colling, Gilbert, Wright & Carter.