Some drinks just make you want to scream “UCC.” The Uniform Commercial Code that is. The Cheesecake Factory has announced it will yield to demands from Massachusetts lawyer Ross Mitchell who objected under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act to the failure to post the prices of its drinks. He is supported by Texas Wesleyan law professor Franklin Snyder who has invoked the UCC as required reading for anyone bar hopping.
Mitchell has announced that he intends to pressure other chains to post their prices. He was outraged recently when a friend was charged $11 for a margarita at a Cheesecake Factory. He said the server did not know the specific prices and could only give him a range.
Franklin Snyder wrote a New York Times column about how a person ordered a lunch special—pasta with white truffles only to be charged $275. Snyder pointed out that “[t]he code provides that where the buyer and seller have agreed to a contract but have not agreed on the price, the price is not what the seller subsequently demands. It’s a reasonable price for the goods at issue. Thus a customer has no obligation to pay for anything more than the reasonable price of a pasta meal at a trendy restaurant.”
That could be handy. But, speaking as a torts professor, I am little curious not to be hearing a chorus of calls for contracts reform and runaway restaurant litigation. Where are all those people insisting on the need for personal responsibility and citing how litigation is driving up the costs of cocktails. Those contracts professors have always been a litigious, margarita-chugging, menu-challenging group of stiffs. We may have our occasional slip and fall, but it is a darn sight better than their check and bounce.