Cereal Litigant

Last Updated on: 10th October 2013, 10:57 am

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new stupidest person in the entire world,Janine Sugawara.

Over a 4 year period, Sugawara had been purchasing and enjoying “Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries” cereal. However, when she discovered that Crunchberries were not an actual fruit, she was not amused, and you know what that means. Yup, lawsuit time! She filed suit against the makers of the cereal on behalf of herself and the similarly intellectually impaired claiming that they were tricked into thinking that the cereal was a healthy option.

According to the complaint, Sugawara and other consumers were misled not only by the use of the word “berries” in the name, but also by the front of the box, which features the product’s namesake, Cap’n Crunch, aggressively “thrusting a spoonful of ‘Crunchberries’ at the prospective buyer.”  Plaintiff claimed that this message was reinforced by other marketing representing the product as a “combination of Crunch biscuits and colorful red, purple, teal and green berries.”  Yet in actuality, the product contained “no berries of any kind.”  Plaintiff brought claims for fraud, breach of warranty, and our notorious and ever-popular California Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Thankfully the story has a happy ending, as the suit was tossed out by Judge Morrison England, Jr., who quite rightly pointed out that any “reasonable consumer” could not be deceived into thinking she was buying something she wasn’t going to get.

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.

The judge went further, and in a move that positively warms my heart, decided not to allow the filing of an amended complaint.

In this case, . . .  it is simply impossible for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint stating a claim based upon these facts. The survival of the instant claim would require this Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense.  The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen.

Now and then, the legal system gets something right. Now if only we could get every lawyer who had a hand in this case disbarred, things would be perfect.

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