NEW YORK — Five women who bought Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses at a Marshall Field’s in Chicago have filed a lawsuit in state court against the retailer and design house, charging them with Illinois consumer fraud and deceptive business-practices violations.
This story first appeared in the July 22, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The suit, filed in Cook County on Monday and seeking class-action status, also named as defendants Target Corp, parent of Field’s, and EFTB Inc., which jointly operated the bridal salon with the department store at 111 North State Street in Chicago.
The lawsuit resulted after a local news station, NBC-5, aired a series of investigative reports on the retailer in which the Wang dresses sold at Fields were shown to be poorly manufactured by EFTB, the salon’s operator. The programs were seen by Jeannie Burke, an associate with local law law firm Daley & Mohan. Along with her bridal party, Burke filed a suit that is being represented by her firm. In May, Field’s terminated its relationship with EFTB.
The plaintiffs, who also filed the action on behalf of other purchasers from the salon, are seeking at least $500,000 from each of the four defendants and punitive damages of an unspecified amount.
They charged in their lawsuit that they entered into sales contracts with EFTB and Marshall Field’s for dresses designed and manufactured by Vera Wang, but that what they received were inferior quality products made by EFTB using “second-hand materials from other dresses.” They also charged the defendants with participation in a scheme to mislead and confuse customers of the salon.
“What we’re trying to do here is to make sure not only that the main plaintiffs are compensated for the wrong that was done to them but also to make sure that other women who were wronged are fairly treated and that all deceptive practices are stopped,” said Raymond Groble, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
In a statement, Field’s said, “We were recently served with a lawsuit by a bridal party that purchased bridesmaid dresses dresses in 2000 at the MF bridal salon in Chicago. Although EFTB Inc., the former operator of MF bridal salon, was responsible for serving these guests, MF has tried to resolve their concern. MF believes this is an unnecessary lawsuit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.”
A Field’s spokeswoman also emphasized that the company terminated its relationship with EFTB on May 15, before the lawsuit was filed. While the bridal salon is operational, it is not currently taking orders for Vera Wang dresses.
Representatives for Wang were unavailable for comment, and EFTB could not be reached.