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The scenario: A landlord holding multiple rental properties/apartments has been found in a class action lawsuit to have been illegally overcharging renters for X amount of money per month each over a period of Y months time (Y differing based on how long a tenant was there, obviously).

What kind of monetary compensations are the range of possible awards? Possibilities I can think of:

  • A: XY for each tenant, just returning the overcharged money.
  • B: XY+interest set at some rate by the court, returning overcharged money and compensating for the time plaintiffs did not have the money
  • C: Some multiple of XY based on some form of punitive/encouragement for companies to not engage in that behavior in the future. (Other than the cost of both sets of legal fees, obviously)

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Usually, the compensation would be B (economic damages plus prejudgment interest at the appropriate rate), together with court costs other than attorney fees.

But the lease, or depending on the exact nature of the violation, a state law, might provide for a prevailing party's attorney fees.

Intentional fraud rather than just a negligent mistake or breach of contract of widespread effect, might justify some punitive damages. Breach of contract itself does not justify punitive damages.

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    +1. Though depending on what "illegally overcharging" that the landlord has been found guilty of (as per the OP) actually entails, that may be more than mere breach of contract, but could rise to intentional misconduct or gross negligence (to the standard of clear and convincing evidence, which is the limit for punitive damages in Florida, apparently). I'm not familiar with Florida law, but a quick Google search suggests that up to treble punitive damages might be available in Florida in that case. gulisanolaw.com/punitive-damages-under-florida-law
    – sharur
    Jan 1, 2023 at 6:54

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