HolyCoast: Mission Viejo Mall Allows a Campaign Against One of Their Own Tenants

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mission Viejo Mall Allows a Campaign Against One of Their Own Tenants

I don't really understand this one. The Mission Viejo Mall has a tenant called "Barkworks", a pet store. In the center of the mall, in one of the highest traffic areas near the escalator, an activist group has set up a table with signs and literature telling people not to buy pets from Barkworks.

Shouldn't this present some type of legal conflict for the mall? Shouldn't their lease agreement with Barkworks prevent them from allowing a group from actively seeking to prevent that store from doing business?

This would make me kind of leery about coming into this mall as a tenant if some group could come into the mall and agitate against my business. This is private property so any First Amendment claims would not be valid.

Curious. Makes me want to go buy a puppy.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Per CA law the group is allowed to be there. In 1997, the CA Supreme Court ruled shopping malls are a public forum where people are allowed to exercise their right of free speech. Malls are allowed to enforce "reasonable regulations of time, place, and manner" but they cannot deny access to common areas.

That said, perhaps you should have asked the group why they were there. You would have found out that Barkworks tells its customers that the puppies they sell come from "private family breeders," when in fact they come from puppy mills. Recent USDA inspection reports show their breeders have as many as 550 dogs on premise. Hundreds of customers have filed reports detailing the purchase of sick and dying dogs. The chain has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau and a class action lawsuit alleging consumer fraud was filed against the chain in September. KTLA and a national animal welfare organization investigated the chain and both discovered egregious acts of neglect and cruelty.

Good luck with your new puppy.