When you get what you pay for: the First Circuit examines the injury requirement under Massachusetts chapter 93A.
On July 26th, the First Circuit issued rulings in putative consumer class actions brought by the same attorney against two national department store chains, challenging their allegedly deceptive use of comparative pricing on their in-store price tags. In the first case, brought against Nordstrom, the court engaged in a careful review of a series of Massachusetts decisions interpreting the state’s consumer protection act, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93A. In the second case, against Kohl’s, the court continued the analysis to fill a procedural gap left open in the first case. In the end, the court reinforced the Massachusetts cases holding that proof of an unfair or deceptive act or practice, without more, is not sufficient to support a claim under the Massachusetts statute. Rather, plaintiffs must also prove that the violation caused them harm. Because plaintiffs in these cases did not allege that products themselves were other than represented, but only that they subjectively believed that they were getting a good bargain, the court held that they failed