Are you a past or present CBL & Associates tenant? You may have been overcharged for electricity.
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Hagens Berman has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a small business in Florida against CBL & Associates alleging that CBL has overcharged thousands of its mall tenants for years through a calculated “criminal enterprise” of inflated electricity charges, charging tenants up to 100 percent more than cost of electricity the tenants actually used.
According to the lawsuit, CBL promised its small business tenants that their electricity charges would not exceed what CBL was charged by local public utilities for the electricity the tenants actually used, but CBL breached its own lease agreements – and applicable state law – by inflating tenant electric bills up to twice the amount of tenants would have been charged had they purchased electricity directly from the utility company.
The 32-page complaint filed Mar. 16, 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida accuses CBL, one of the nation’s largest mall owner and operators, of engaging in racketeering and conspiracy in violation of Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), breach of contract and violation of Florida’s Civil Remedies for Criminal Practices Act, among other counts.
The suit seeks relief for all individuals and entities that leased mall space from CBL and paid it monthly energy charges. If you believe you have been affected, contact Hagens Berman to find out your rights.
The suit states that CBL went as far as to attempt to cover up illegal upcharges by inserting a clause into its lease agreements requiring tenants to waive their right to audit CBL’s electric bills. In exchange, CBL agreed that it would not mark up their electricity charges, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit states that “CBL’s scheme was fully unmasked when CBL’s Gulf Coast Town Center mall (GCTC) went into foreclosure and was taken over by CBL’s lender. As a result, a third-party management company was brought in to manage the mall… It became immediately apparent that CBL had been significantly overcharging its GCTC tenants for electricity.”