Stupid Lawsuit of the Day from 2009

Extra! Extra! Read all about it, Crunchberries are not real fruit. Apparently Janine Sugawara of Southern California, has been eating Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries cereal for four years thinking they were actual berries! Imagine her surprise when she discovered they were just cereal shaped into little balls and dyed in colors not known to nature. Well, she was mad enough to sue Pepsi, the owners of Quaker Oats who makes the awesome cereal. Sugawara v. Pepsico, 08-cv-01335, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California

Actually she and her attorneys were more likely enticed by the combination of class action lawsuits and California’s pro-consumer protection laws. They sought class status on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Crunchberries and alleged misrepresentation of the nature of the crunchberries on the cereal’s packaging, false and misleading advertising and labeling. As damages they wanted Quaker Oats to return all the money they made by selling crunchberries, punitive damage of an unspecified amount and attorneys fees. Ah, the attorneys fees. That’s the insidious part of class action lawsuits. But that is a topic for another blawg entry.

Thankfully in this case the judge wouldn’t stand for any nonsense. Defendant made a motion to dismiss the complaint and it was granted. The judge pointed out, “this court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a “crunchberry.”” The Court concluded its decision by denying the Plaintiff the opportunity to amend her complaint by stating “The survival of the instant claim would require the Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense. The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen.”

Good job Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. Still the entire process took over a year and undoubtedly Quaker Oats had to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars defending this nonsense.

Hubert Plummer