Association is Subject to Liability for Publishing “Deadbeat List”

This case involved a dispute between a condominium owner (“Owner”) and her condominium association (“Association”) over Association’s right to publish Owner’s name and the amount of delinquent assessments she owed Association on a “deadbeat list” that was posted in the community.

Association’s bylaws require residents to pay assessments and when owners are delinquent in the payment of those assessments, Association would publicly post a list, commonly known as a “deadbeat list” which, at the time in question contained over 100 names of condominium owners who were delinquent in the payment of assessments owed to Association. In addition to the owners’ names, the deadbeat list also showed the amount that was owed by the condominium owners on the list.

After Association posted a deadbeat list that included Owner’s name and the amount that she owed Association, Owner filed a class action lawsuit against Association in which she alleged that the posting of the deadbeat list violated the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) which prohibits to the public posting of “deadbeat lists” to enforce or collect a “consumer debt.” The trial court ruled that the obligations Owner owed to Association did not qualify as “debt” under the FCCPA, or under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and therefore concluded

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