Why does the world hate lawyers? Because of stuff like this
. You can't make this up: the on-line menu prices for a Chinese restaurant weren't up-to-date, and a customer was overcharged $4. I get being pissed about that. But what would most people do? Just lump it, stop patronizing the restaurant, ask the restaurant for a refund, or complain to the credit card issuer. But in this case, the customer has a JD (and to make it more delicious, happens be a Harvard Business School professor). The professor decides to go all legal on the restaurant, demanding $12, as treble damages under Massachusetts' unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) statute, MGL 93a (even citing the statute!).
I get why people would be hating on the professor for that alone. But here's what really peeves me. He gets MGL 93a wrong!!! (I happen to teach this statute.) The professor is demanding something that he almost assuredly cannot get under law.
As an initial matter, it's important to know that there is no scienter (intent) requirement for MGL 93a. A negligent misrepresentation is as much of a violation as an intentional one. The interesting issue is the remedy. Let's look at the relevant part of the statute: