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Phillies Fans File Beer Fraud Suit

May 7, 1998

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ It’s bad enough that the Phillies are struggling in the standings, but when a couple of beer-drinking buddies heard they were being shortchanged on their suds, it was more than they could take.

After reading news reports about the Veterans Stadium concessionaire selling cups of beer with two ounces less than what was advertised, the two cousins, Eric Jacoby, 44, and Paul Pollock, 36, filed a class-action lawsuit charging negligence and fraud.

Anyone who has bought beer at the stadium during the last four years may be able to join in on the suit and share in any legal winnings. Damages have not been determined, their attorney, Stephen Levin, said.

Officials with Ogden Entertainment Services, who have been selling beer at Phillies and Eagles games for 13 years, said the suit is more foam than substance.

``This whole thing is absurd. We’ve served millions of cups of beer _ all of them filled to the brim. In our 13 years at the Vet, we’ve never had one complaint _ not one,″ said Brian Hastings, Ogden’s service manager. ``This is nothing more than two jokers, trying to have some fun.″

The suit, filed Friday in the Court of Common Pleas, alleges that Ogden either knew it was selling less beer than advertised and concealed the shortage to defraud customers or it was negligent for failing to use large enough cups to accommodate its advertised quantities of beer.

The suit calls for a permanent injunction to stop beer sales in ``misadvertised, misrepresented or misleading quantities.″

But what the plaintiffs really hope to get out of this is an honest pour of ballpark beer.

``My lawyer said maybe we’ll just get a free beer out of this. But that’s enough. What I really want is to get what I pay for,″ Pollock said.

``Let’s face it. The bottom line is they’re trying to make a profit by cheating you,″ Jacoby said.

The company contends it advertises its beers as large or regular _ the amount of ounces are not given.

Ogden’s prices are 25 cents higher than what customers pay at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore and 50 cents more than Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

The Philadelphia Daily News estimated beer-swilling fans were swindled out of about $495,000 in the last year. The newspaper reported that the stadium beer ads allegedly misled customers about the ounces of beer they were buying. The paper had also criticized the stadium’s hotdogs.

The day after the news report, city officials began investigating and found no signs of fraud or false advertising, according to city spokesman Kevin Feeley.

``Given the amount of publicity, this lawsuit doesn’t surprise me,″ Feeley said. ``We’ve been asked to look into it. If they’re not performing up to their contract, we would like to know.″

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