The Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2023 

In the early 1990s, McDonald’s faced a lawsuit over hot coffee and even a Seinfeld episode satirized the case, highlighting U.S. litigation system abuses. Today, frivolous lawsuits are more…

In the early 1990s, McDonald’s faced a lawsuit over hot coffee and even a Seinfeld episode satirized the case, highlighting U.S. litigation system abuses. Today, frivolous lawsuits are more problematic than ever. Let’s explore the top 10 Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2023, counting down to the most absurd. 

10. Crocs and the Case of the Shrinking Shoes 

Starting our list is an unusual lawsuit against Crocs, the popular shoe brand, which faced legal action for allegedly selling shoes that shrink when exposed to heat. Crocs responded to the lawsuit, explaining that it would be a strange business strategy in today’s competitive market.  

9. Subway’s Tuna Tales 

Subway, the global sandwich chain, was accused of serving a tuna sandwich that allegedly lacked tuna. Although the lawsuit was dismissed, Subway faced bad publicity. They launched a website, www.subwaytunafacts.com, in response to the erroneous lawsuit.   

8. El Guapo’s Chile Pod Controversy 

In a spicy turn of events, McCormick faced a lawsuit over its El Guapo brand New Mexico chile pods. The lawsuit claimed consumers were misled into believing these chile pods were grown in New Mexico. The plaintiffs are represented by Spencer Sheehan, a plaintiffs’ attorney notorious for filing hundreds of food and beverage labeling lawsuits. 

7. The Texas Pete Misnomer 

A unique lawsuit against Texas Pete hot sauce fizzled out, not for its taste but its origin. The lawsuit argued the brand misled consumers by suggesting the sauce was made in Texas when it’s actually produced in North Carolina. Wait until they hear about Belgian waffles and Boston cream pie. 

6. Burger King’s Whopper of a Lawsuit 

Remember the good old days when you could count on a massive Whopper to satisfy your hunger? Apparently, some don’t and have taken the matter to court! Burger King found itself in the midst of a lawsuit claiming their Whoppers were smaller than what was pictured in advertisements. While we all know that our appetites can expand, this is next level. Though it may seem like a microscopic problem to some, plaintiffs have put Burger King in quite a pickle.  

5. Polar Inc.’s Lemon-Flavored Legal Battle 

Polar Inc. was recently dragged to court over its lemon-flavored carbonated water. The lawsuit, filed by—you guessed it—Spencer Sheehan, alleged the seltzer water packaging was misleading due to images of lemon slices floating in bubbly water. Although the seltzer waters are lightly infused with lemon, the lawsuit alleges that the flavor wasn’t strong enough. Chicago judges were left with a sour taste in their mouths after dismissing the case.  

4. Taco Bell’s Meaty Misrepresentation 

Taco Bell is in a crunch over its Crunch Wrap Supreme. The fast-food giant, known for its late-night cravings and affordable delights, was slapped with a lawsuit accusing them of false advertising over the meat content in their products. The plaintiff alleges that Taco Bell’s photography is misleading and is asking the chain to pay a shocking $500 per item purchased.  

3. Buffalo Wild Wings’ Boneless Wing Debate 

Buffalo Wild Wings faced a lawsuit challenging the authenticity of their “boneless wings.” The plaintiffs argued that boneless wings aren’t actually made from deboned chicken wings. Buffalo Wild Wings clapped back on social media, adding, “[o]ur hamburgers contain no ham. Our buffalo wings are 0% buffalo.” Even though a federal judge in Illinois dismissed the class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are relentless, stating that they intend to refile the complaint.  

2. Velveeta’s Mac and Cheese Misunderstanding 

A Florida woman filed a $5 million lawsuit against Kraft, claiming its Velveeta mac and cheese cups took longer to cook than advertised. She claimed the packaging was misleading because it did not factor in time to open the packaging, add water, and stir in the cheese. Fortunately, a federal judge dismissed the case.  

1. Lady Gaga’s Dognapping Drama 

The pop star was sued over a $500,000 reward she offered for the return of her stolen dogs. The twist? The woman suing her was charged in connection with the theft of Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs. She asked the court to triple the damages to $1.5 million because the reward offer was misleading. The judge ruled the lawsuit was “legally insufficient in its entirety.” 

While some of these lawsuits may seem amusing or trivial, they underscore the serious issue of lawsuit abuse, threatening American businesses and consumers. Frivolous litigation drains resources, stifles innovation, and inflates costs for the products and services we use every day. When businesses must divert time, money, and effort to defend against baseless claims, these costs are often passed down to consumers, resulting in higher prices and potentially fewer choices. Moreover, the fear of litigation can discourage businesses from taking creative risks or introducing new products, ultimately hindering economic growth and innovation.  

Consistent with the Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2022, food-related lawsuits continue to dominate the list. A 2021 ILR research paper,The Food Court: Developments in Litigation Targeting Food and Beverage Marketing, found food-related lawsuits had increased by 52 percent since 2017, and for every case a judge dismisses, about ten are settled out of court as it’s easier and less expensive than fighting in court.

It’s crucial for the legal system to strike a balance between protecting consumer rights and preventing abuse of the system to ensure a fair, efficient, and thriving business environment.