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Most people would give up after being repeatedly rebuffed by stateofficials, but a relentless Quincy, Mass. man has succeeded in forcing tworetailgiants to obey a Massachusetts state law. Retailers have flouted the staterequirementthat each item be marked with a price. A survey has revealed that somestores, including Home Depot, ignored the law. The maximum fine is $5,000per violation, but the stores received only warnings. Quincy writer ColmanHerman wanted the law enforced and thought state officials should takeaction. He contacted state Attorney General Thomas Reilly several times,advisinghim that his Michigan counterpart had sued Home Depot, winning $250,000 andforcing the chain to obey the law. Getting nowhere, Herman sued Home Depotin small-claims court and won $25. When the store continued to ignore thelaw, Herman again sued it, as well as Walgreen’s, in small-claims court.Walgreen’s claimed it satisfied the law by displaying the price on theshelf and at the checkout register, while Home Depot argued that Herman wasimproperly acting as a “self-constituted private attorney general.” ButJudge Mark S. Coven, former head of the consumer-protection division underformer Attorney General James Shannon, disagreed. After awarding Hermantoken damages, the judge ordered the retailers to come up with item-pricingplans for their Quincy stores within 30 days.

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