The holiday season is here, which means it’s time for what we’re calling Lawsuit Abuse-ivus, or an airing of grievances for the most ridiculous lawsuits of 2022.
To paraphrase Frank Costanza, we’ve got a lot of problems with these lawsuits, and now you’re gonna hear about them!
Let’s gather around the Lawsuit Abuse-ivus pole this year and start our airing of grievances:
1. The first lawsuit is from a woman suing Kraft Heinz Co. because she says Velveeta’s microwaveable mac and cheese cups are not “ready in three and a half minutes.” In the lawsuit, the woman claims the time on the front of the package does not include other “time-consuming” steps such as tearing off the lid.
2. This second lawsuit has us a little spicy. A man is suing Texas Pete because their hot sauce is made in North Carolina, not Texas. The lawsuit alleges that the product label is misleading because it features “a stereotypically white Texas ‘lone star’ reminiscent of the Texas flag” and the word “Texas.” Let’s not tell him where Milky Ways are made.
3. “Eye” can’t believe this one. An eye drop maker is being sued because, according to the plaintiff, customers get only 20 days’ worth of product instead of the 30 days advertised on the packaging. A New York man filed the lawsuit against Alcon Laboratories, the manufacturers of Pataday-brand eyedrops for allergy relief, after he claims he used one drop a day and the eye drops only lasted 20 days. But who’s to say how much liquid is considered one drop?
4. We also have major issues with this lawsuit against Altoids. The plaintiff is suing the maker of Altoids, claiming the mints don’t have real cinnamon even though the front of the tin clearly says that they are artificially flavored.
5. This food lawsuit has left us a little fiery. A lawsuit against Herr’s regarding their Jalapeno Poppers flavored cheese curls claims the packaging is deceptive because it features pictures of jalapeños and cheese, making people believe the taste is derived from these ingredients. But the list of ingredients says seasoning contains artificial flavors.
6. Next is another ridiculous food lawsuit that might leave a bitter taste in your mouth–a lawsuit against Publix over their honey-lemon cough drops. The lawsuit claims that the picture of a lemon cut in half on the front of the packaging makes consumers believe the cough drops are made with real lemons even though neither the package nor the list of ingredients claims that is the case. Who will break the news that there are no rainbows in Lucky Charms?
7. Just over halfway through our list, and here is another not so “grate” lawsuit. Kroger is being sued over claims that their smoked gouda cheese only tastes smoked but isn’t smoked over wood. The label says the cheese has a “distinctive, smoky flavor” and does not claim the gouda has been smoked.
8. Another lawsuit that has us a-maize-d is this lawsuit against Conagra over their Orville Redenbacher’s ‘Naturals’ microwave popcorn. The lawsuit says the popcorn is falsely labeled “natural” simply because the product contains mixed tocopherols. Mixed tocopherols are a form of vitamin E derived from vegetable oils.
9. This lawsuit needs to be flushed. The packaging for Dulcolax laxatives says the product “works naturally” to help you go to the bathroom. A lawsuit claims the Dulcolax packaging takes advantage of consumers who want an all-natural product. They say customers lack the ability to test whether Dulcolax is natural at the point of sale before they buy the product.
10. Kellogg’s faced a lawsuit regarding their Strawberry Pop-Tarts earlier this year that claimed there weren’t enough strawberries inside their pastry filling. The filling contains a fruit mixture that also includes other ingredients like pears and apples. The judge agreed that no reasonable consumer would believe from the packaging that the breakfast pastry contained only strawberries, or more strawberries than other ingredients. We’re berry glad to see this lawsuit get tossed.
11. Here is another not-so-sweet lawsuit for this list. A woman is suing Walmart because their Great Value Honey Mustard is sweetened with more sugar than honey. The lawsuit claims that because the label has pictures of dripping honey and the text “Made with Real Honey,” consumers who seek honey as a healthier alternative are tricked into buying it. Even though honey is one of the ingredients, the lawsuit says that isn’t enough. So, they filed a multi-state class action lawsuit.
12. Last but certainly not least, Wendy’s was sued over the size and look of its hamburger. The lawsuit claimed that the real-life burgers don’t look like the burgers in their advertisements. The photos in the ads have disclosures and list the approximate weight–facts the plaintiff never acknowledges.
Notice a lot of food-related lawsuits on our list? That’s because food lawsuits have skyrocketed in recent years. A 2021 ILR research paper, The Food Court: Developments In Litigation Targeting Food And Beverage Marketing, found food-related lawsuits have increased by 52 percent since 2017, and for every case dismissed by a judge, about ten are settled by the company because it’s easier and less expensive than fighting in court.
We spoke a lot about class action lawsuits during our airing of grievances. Learn more about the U.S. class action system in our blog, What Is a Class Action Lawsuit? Once you’ve read up on class actions, we invite you to join us in airing grievances of your own over the most ridiculous lawsuits clogging up our litigation system over the past year. Share your favorite one and follow along on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.