Judge Throws Out Suit Over ‘Employee Wellness Surcharge’
Blue Plate owns a handful of restaurants in the Twin Cities area, including Mercury in downtown Minneapolis. Caitlin Abrams for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

Judge Throws Out Suit Over ‘Employee Wellness Surcharge’

The class action lawsuit had been filed against Blue Plate Restaurant Co. late last year.

A Hennepin County District judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Blue Plate Restaurant Co. over its employee wellness surcharge fees.

In late 2019, Minnesota resident Christopher Ashbach filed a suit against Blue Plate, arguing that the company’s 3 percent employee wellness surcharge constituted “fraud, misrepresentation, and deceptive practices.”

But last week, Hennepin County District Judge Laurie Miller dismissed the suit. According to the Star Tribune, Miller ruled that Ashbach “failed to prove that he did not have access to the standard menu with the surcharge noted while ordering off a ‘specials’ insert that lacked a reference to the added fee.

Jon Farnsworth, an attorney representing Ashbach, told Twin Cities Business that he disagrees with the judge’s decision and considered an appeal prior to settling the case.

“I think there are significant problems with these fees that businesses are charging without adequate disclosure,” Farnsworth said. He still maintains that it’s “risky” for businesses to not transparently state their pricing to consumers. “Best practice remains to include all fees in the menu price,” he said.

Farnsworth told the Strib that the case has been “settled to our client’s satisfaction.”