Violation of State Law

Boca Raton, Florida Commercial Litigation Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.

Each state, within the United States, has its own statutory framework that generally governs various relationships between its citizens.  In the State of Florida, these statutes are codified in, what else, the Florida Statutes.  Because of the fact that this website primarily deals with securities, commodities and precious metals matter, this post will focus on Florida Statute 517, which is known as the Florida Investors Protection Act.  To demonstrate how complicated some of these statutes are, even within Chapter 517, there are various statutory claims that can be made.  It is for this reason that it is advisable for the reader to consider retaining experienced trial counsel.

Before reading the following post, please keep in mind that this information is being provided for educational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice.

Violations of various provisions of Florida Statute 517, the Florida Investor Protection Act

Florida Statutory Security Claims:

In order to understand the breath of the Florida statutory remedy for securities fraud, one need look no further than the language of the statute itself.

Florida Statute 517.301:

Florida Statute 517.301 provides, in relevant part for this post, as follows:

(1) It is unlawful and a violation of the provisions of this chapter for a person:

(a) In connection with the rendering of any investment advice or in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any investment or security, including any security exempted under the provisions of s. 517.051 and including any security sold in a transaction exempted under the provisions of s. 517.061, directly or indirectly:

1. To employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud;

2. To obtain money or property by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading; or

3. To engage in any transaction, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon a person.

(b) To publish, give publicity to, or circulate any notice, circular, advertisement, newspaper, article, letter, investment service, communication, or broadcast which, though not purporting to offer a security for sale, describes such security for a consideration received or to be received directly or indirectly from an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, or from an agent or employee of an issuer, underwriter, or dealer, without fully disclosing the receipt, whether past or prospective, of such consideration and the amount of the consideration.

(c) In any matter within the jurisdiction of the office, to knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal, or cover up, by any trick, scheme, or device, a material fact, make any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation, or make or use any false writing or document, knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.

To supplement the statutory provisions of Chapter 517, the Florida Department of Financial Regulation has adopted various regulations as codified in the Florida Administrative Code, which provides guidance for customers and broker/dealers of their duties, obligations and rights under Chapter 517.

There is a plethora of state and federal court cases which discuss various factual circumstances under which a violation of Florida Statue 517.301 has been found to exist. Whether or not your unique factual situation would form the basis of such a violation requires your consultation with experienced securities counsel. This is especially important for the reason that Florida Statue 517.211(2) which details the remedies available to investors for violation of Florida Statute 517.301, in subsection (6) provides that "in any action brought under this section, including an appeal, the court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party unless the court finds that the award of such fees would be unjust.

Additionally, there may be other provisions of Florida Statue 517 such as sections 517.07 (Registration of Securities) and 517.12 (Registration of dealers, associated persons, investment advisors and branch offices, which may be relevant to you matter.

Other Frequently Utilized Florida Statutory Claims:

  •  Enforcement of various duties and obligations arising under the Florida Business Corporations Act, Florida Statute 607
  • Violations of the Florida Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Florida Statute 895
  • Violations of the Florida Civil Theft Statute, Chapter 772
  • Declaratory judgment actions pursuant to Florida Statute 86