Tuesday, June 9, 2009
No wonder the public has a cynical view of lawyers. Some California lawyers agreed to take a case alleging that Cap'n Crunch engaged in fraud by calling one of its cereals "Crunchberry" and thereby deceiving the public into thinking it was getting a portion of real fruit in every mouth-watering bite. In dismissing the complaint, the court noted that, essentially, only a moron would think the box illustration represented an actual fruit found in nature. The court explained its finding much diplomatically than I just did:
In this case . . . while the challenged packaging contains the word "berries" it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term "crunch." This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a "crunchberry." Furthermore, the "Crunchberries" depicted on the [box] are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the [box] clearly states both that the Product contains "sweetened corn & oat cereal" and that the cereal is "enlarged to show texture." Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. . . . So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.
Believe it or not, there's actually precedent for the result here. The court noted that the same plaintiffs' attorney had previously brought a misrepresentation claim against the good people who make Fruit Loops cereal on the grounds that despite the name, Fruit Loops doesn't contain any fruit. That complaint was also dismissed. See McKinnis v. Kellogg, 2007 WL 4766060 (C.D. Cal. 2007).
Read more commentary about the two cases at the legal humor site, Lowering the Bar.
A big tip 'o the hat to Professor Ted Becker.
I am the scholarship dude.