Date: Aug 30, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – An appellate team led by Douglas Behr of Keller and Heckman successfully defended on appeal a trial court's defense judgment on behalf of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc. The California Court of Appeal for the Second District issued a unanimous, unpublished opinion affirming the trial court's judgment.
The plaintiffs in this case, three Union for Food and Commercial Workers employees, had sued Fresh & Easy for allegedly intentionally violating the Rosenthal Roberti Item Pricing Act (the "Act") codified at Civil Code § 7100 et seq. The Act requires grocers to have a "clearly readable price" physically marked on 85% of the non-exempt item for sale in the store. Plaintiffs claimed that the "clearly readable price" requirement could only be satisfied by having a sticker or ink impression on each and every individual package, and that use of shelf price tags alone are insufficient.
At the close of Plaintiffs' case, the trial court granted Fresh & Easy's Motion for Judgment. The trial court found that plaintiffs had failed to prove their case, and rejected the restrictive statutory construction promoted by Plaintiffs, noting that the language of the Act does not limit a grocer's means of compliance to only ink stamping or sticker pricing.
On appeal, the Plaintiffs argued that the trial court erred both in granting judgment and in its interpretation of the statute. On a review of the record, the Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court correctly determined that Plaintiffs had failed in their proof, and accordingly affirmed the trial court's decision. The Court of Appeal did not address the issue of statutory interpretation.
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