‘Boomer’ Suit Goes Bust

Baby boomers take heart. Old age may be coming, but at least discounts of all kinds are looming.

On Tuesday, San Diego’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled unanimously [subs. req.] that discount tickets for customers born between 1946 and 1965 to a theatrical production called “Boomers” didn’t violate state civil rights or unfair competition laws.

“Providing discounted theater admissions to ‘baby boomers’ to attend a musical about that generation does not perpetuate any irrational stereotypes,” Justice Alex McDonald wrote. “Rather, the discount acts to honor a generation of individuals who … have contributed to the economy and participated in and contributed to meaningful civic, cultural, educational, business and recreational activities.” Justices Patricia Benke and Joan Irion concurred.

Reyna and Patricia Pizarro, Imee Torres and Diana Burgos sued after they were charged full price in 2004 for a Lamb’s Players Theatre production of the musical “Boomers” at the Lyceum Theater in downtown San Diego. Regular-priced tickets ranged from $28 to $42, while baby boomers paid half-price. The plaintiffs demanded baby boomer prices, but were rejected. They claimed the discount violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act’s provisions on age discrimination and constituted unfair competition. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kevin Enright dismissed the case and the appeal court agreed.

“Because a theater ticket discount allows greater access to the theater,” McDonald wrote, “public policy favors the disparate treatment, whether the discount is made available to children, seniors or boomers.” Boomers can celebrate because the court also noted 12 other instances in which state and federal courts have upheld discounts or favorable laws for senior citizens or people 55 and older. So chew that over while contemplating false teeth, rocking chairs and crow’s feet.

By the way, Justice McDonald isn’t a boomer, having been born in 1936, but Benke and Irion — each in their 50s — both qualify.

— Mike McKee

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