On Friday, May 24, 2013, two New Jersey residents filed a proposed class action against the Briad Group in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, alleging that 12 New Jersey TGI Friday’s restaurants owned and operated by the Livingston-based Briad Group employed a policy of substituting cheaper liquor brands for the premium liquor brands ordered by customers, without the customer’s knowledge, and then charged the customer the higher price associated with the premium brand.
The lawsuit follows the announcement last Wednesday by the New Jersey Attorney General and the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control of “Operation Swill,” a sting operation in which several dozen New Jersey bars and restaurants were raided after undercover ABC operatives purchased what were purported to be premium alcohol brands, only to have chemical testing reveal they were actually served cheaper substitute brands. The 12 New Jersey TGI Friday’s restaurants named in the proposed class action were among those raided by ABC officials. The class action lawsuit seeks reimbursement and treble damages under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act for customers of the 12 New Jersey TGI Friday’s who were overcharged by the alleged policy of substituting cheaper liquor for the premium liquor ordered and paid for by customers.
The plaintiffs in the proposed class action are being represented by DeNittis Osefchen of Marlton, New Jersey, a firm which has prosecuted numerous class actions in New Jersey including the recent red light camera class actions. Speaking as to the lawsuit, Attorney Stephen P. DeNittis stated:
“The goal of this class action lawsuit is obtain reimbursement for the customers who were victimized by this policy. The New Jersey Attorney General and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control have publically announced that they will take administrative action against the bars which employed this policy of ‘substituting alcohol,’ including possibly taking away their liquor licenses. That is certainly a laudable goal, but we think the customers who were harmed by this policy in the past should also get the money they were overcharged. That is what the proposed class action aims to do.”