Three Former Ralphs Executives Sue Chain

Three former executives of Ralphs Grocery Co. here are suing the company for firing them in the wake of the 2003-2004 strike-lockout.

LOS ANGELES — Three former executives of Ralphs Grocery Co. here are suing the company for firing them in the wake of the 2003-2004 strike-lockout.

The suit comes after the three executives — Patrick McGowan, Scott Drew and Karen Montoya — were acquitted in June of fraud and conspiracy in a scheme to re-hire locked out workers using false identities during the labor dispute.

Cincinnati-based Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, paid more than $70 million in damages stemming from a federal investigation into the hiring dispute.

The suit alleges the plaintiffs were fired as “part of a broader blame-shifting effort adopted by the defendants to shield Ralphs and its senior management from criminal responsibility” for actions taken by senior Ralphs executives. It seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages against Ralphs, Kroger, Fry’s and up to 20 unnamed individuals comprising senior management at those companies.

Kroger officials were not immediately available for comment.

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