State Can Pursue Eyewear Chain Lawsuit
The state Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a 1975 law does not protect eyewear chains Pearle Vision and Pearle VisionCare from a lawsuit alleging that the chains' one-stop eyewear shops are illegal, the Sacramento Bee reports. California officials say such businesses have financial incentives to sell unnecessary glasses and contact lenses to customers.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) filed the consumer protection lawsuit in 2002, alleging that it was illegal for the chains to prescribe glasses and contacts while also making and selling the products.
Pearle argued that the one-stop shops are convenient for customers and that barring them would "inflict sharply higher costs, reduced services and lower-quality care on California consumers." Pearle also said that the arrangement was legal because the prescribing and retail functions are done by two separate corporate entities and that a 1975 state law shields the chains from the lawsuit.
However, the court said the law does not protect Pearle.
The ruling does not require the separation of the chains but instead allows Lockyer to proceed with the lawsuit, according to Lockyer spokesperson Tom Dresslar (Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 6/13).