WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The National Grocers Association here has weighed in against ABC's appeal of a $5.5 million punitive damages award to Food Lion resulting from a TV broadcast story.
eir employees to violate state law in order to create a news story," the NGA stated in a "friend of the court" brief.
The NGA filed the brief last week as part of the Capital Cities/ABC appeal now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va.
Food Lion's original suit stemmed from a report broadcast on ABC's "Prime Time Live" TV program. Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., claimed that television producers used fraudulent work histories and false identities to get jobs with the supermarket chain and then failed to carry out job duties.
Instead, Food Lion said, the producers worked on developing a story on food-handling practices that the chain called biased and inaccurate.
A spokeswoman for ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co., Burbank, Calif., said she had not seen the brief and could not comment. SN's parent company, Fairchild Publications, is also a unit of Walt Disney Co.
Food Lion officials could not be reached for comment last week.
"ABC's use of fraud and deception to plant inexperienced television producers in grocery food-handling jobs is something this court should not condone," the NGA stated in its brief. "The commercial success of grocers is dependent, to a large extent, on how the public perceives the quality of their product."