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Signature Gathering Not Protected in Trader Joe’s Trespass Suit

June 17, 2020, 8:05 PM

Signature gatherers who solicited signatures from Trader Joe’s Co. customers as they entered and exited stores weren’t engaging in a protected activity because the walkways weren’t the equivalent of a public forum, a California appeals court affirmed Wednesday.

AAP Holding Company Inc., an organization gathering signatures for political campaigns and initiatives, alleged that it retained signature gatherers at five Trader Joe’s locations in private shopping centers or multi-use centers in Southern California.

The specialty grocery store sued to block the signature gatherers, alleging trespass, nuisance, and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, among other claims.

AAP argued that its conduct ...