Three former Ralphs executives are suing the grocery chain and its parent, alleging that the companies wrongfully terminated and scapegoated them after the bitter 2003-04 Southern California supermarket strike and lockout.
The suit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, comes after the trio -- Patrick McGowan, a former Ralphs regional vice president, and Scott Drew and Karen Montoya, former zone managers -- were acquitted in June of fraud and conspiracy in a scheme to rehire locked-out workers using fake Social Security numbers during the strike.
"The companies had to come up with names, and it's our position that our clients were offered as sacrificial lambs," said Michael Amir, a lawyer for Drew.
The strike and lockout involved Ralphs, a division of Kroger Co., and rival chains Vons and Albertsons. The suit, which asks for compensation, also named Kroger division Fry's Food Stores.
Company officials could not be reached for comment.