Louis v. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC
"[A] violation of CUTPA may be established by showing either an actual deceptive practice . . . or a practice amounting to a violation of public policy," pursuant to the Connecticut Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Cheshire Mortgage Service Inc. v. Montes. In January 2009, the plaintiff, James Louis, allegedly purchased Nature Made vitamins from the defendant grocery store, Stop & Shop, after the expiration date for the vitamins passed. The plaintiff sued the defendant, alleging it violated CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, because it failed to remove products from its shelves after the expiration date passed, which was likely to mislead consumers. The defendant moved to strike and argued that the plaintiff's complaint failed to allege that the defendant engaged in a deceptive practice or that the plaintiff suffered a substantial injury. CUTPA provides, "No person shall engage in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce," pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §42-110b. "CUTPA proscribes both 'unfair' and 'deceptive' acts or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce in Connecticut," pursuant to Hartford Superior Court Judge Joseph Shortall's 2009 decision in State v. Liberty Mutual Holding Company Inc. The plaintiff's complaint alleged injury that arose from the defendant's entrepreneurial activities in the plaintiff's trade of selling vitamins. Connecticut General Statutes §21a-93 prohibits, in part, "The sale in intrastate commerce of any food, drug, device or cosmetic that is adulterated or misbranded." The court found that the plaintiff's complaint adequately alleged conduct that violated public policy in C.G.S. §21a-93 and that led to consumer injury. The court denied the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's CUTPA count.