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Litigation: It's not just for breakfast anymore

06/11/09

I love a good lawsuit story, and to be honest the one I’m about to tell you is among the best I’ve seen to date.

A woman in California has sued PepsiCo for $5-billion, in what she hoped would become a class action lawsuit.

The claim? That Cap’n Crunch with “Crunchberries” Cereal (a product of PepsiCo) does not actually contain fruit.

There’s a shocker.

I was surprised the ingredient list didn’t say “100 % sugar formed into squares and balls.”

In addition to asking for $5-billion, my guess is she wants the Captain’s rank busted down to Private, or even expose him for his exaggerated military experience.

P’vt Crunch.

P’vt Crunch with (There’s No Such Thing As) Crunchberries.

Sorry Virginia, there is no such fruit as the Crunchberry.

As hard as it is to believe, we grow fields of several berry varieties.including straw, boysen, blue, black, huckle, cran, and rasp, among others. But alas, no waving fields of the crunch variety.

Who knew?

The suit alleged that manufactures of the breakfast cereal duped her, average reasonable consumers of the year, into buying the cereal for four years by falsely presenting the “Crunchberries” as an actual fruit.

Forget the novel idea of reading the ingredient list, I thought everybody read the entire box while eating their bowl of cereal. That’s an American institution.

So far, no one has jumped aboard the Cap’n’s ship with the lady from California, presumably because no one has saved their grocery receipts for the last decade.

It may not matter because the judge in the case tossed the suit because, among other things, the “Plaintiff did not explain why she could not reasonably have figured this out at any point during the four years she alleged she bought Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries in reliance on defendant’s fraud.”

He also found it significant that it is common knowledge that no fruit known as a “crunchberry” grows wild or occurs naturally in any part of the world.

I told you.

I suspect the judge’s handwriting was shaky on that ruling because it’s hard to write straight while you’re banging your head on the desk.

Bless his heart.

Of course, stuff like this makes me think way too much.

In light of this, for those of you with an ample amount of time and a filing cabinet of grocery receipts, I’m listing my thoughts for food and other products with equal or greater merit for a false advertising lawsuit as Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries.

1) The Manwich.
A canned sauce that you add to hamburger meat to make a sloppy joe sandwich. To my knowledge, it contains no men and never has.

2) Grape Nuts.
Upon inspection, it contains neither. Only small pieces of a kitty litter like substance that you pour milk over.

3) Gatorade.
I was thrilled to learn that no alligator was harmed in the making of this product.

4) Chicken fingers.
I swear I lost sleep over this one.

5) Sea Monkeys.
Just try feeding them bananas.

6) Head cheese.
The head part, sadly, I believe is true. It’s the cheese claim that I think is worthy of a lawsuit. And to think for years I believed it represented two food groups known to us, and one that wasn’t.

7) Apple Macintosh computer
I bet somebody in the newspaper business has considered eating theirs’ on press day.

8) Girl Scout Cookies
This one is so self-explanatory.

9) Blackberry and Razor cellular phones
No fruit or weapons in either of these.

But it’s not over yet. Cap’n Consumer Watch has filed an appeal.

My hope is that if this one sticks, she will be paid in 10-billion coupons worth 50-cents off Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries.