Ask For The Blue Box, And Then Dump The Paper This Is Written ON Into It

Last Updated on: 27th October 2023, 08:46 pm

This lawsuit here is the kind of thing that should cause you to be disqualified from ever using the court system again and cost your lawyer his license. Specifically his law license, but if you want to take his driver’s license or dog license or any other license you can think of while you’re at it, I’m probably not going to argue much. Good lord almighty, what an extremely dumb, obvious cash grab. These people have me rooting for a corporation, for god’s sake! I’m not saying people aren’t capable of literally being this stupid (see Berries, Crunch or Convoy, Freedom), but I’m pretty sure this one’s exactly what it looks like.

A woman is suing Kraft Heinz Foods Company because it takes slightly longer to prepare a single serving of Velveeta Shells & Cheese than the package says it does. The box says it will be ready in three and a half minutes, but since you have to perform several seconds worth of other steps, microwave it for that long and then let it stand for a bit while it thickens up, that can’t possibly be true. This makes it misleading to consumers and unfit for sale, so please give us a big bag of money, goes the argument.

4. First, consumers must “REMOVE lid and Cheese Sauce Pouch.”
5. Next, they must “ADD water to fill line in cup. STIR.”
6. Third, “MICROWAVE, uncovered, on HIGH 3-1/2 min. DO NOT DRAIN.”
7. Finally, they should “STIR IN contents of cheese sauce pouch.”
8. Defendant then notes that “CHEESE SAUCE WILL THICKEN UPON STANDING.”

9. Consumers seeing “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product, meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption.
10. However, the directions outlined above show that 3-and-a-half minutes is just the length of time to complete one of several steps.
11. The label does not state the Product takes “3 1/2 minutes to cook in the microwave,” which would have been true.
12. To provide consumers with a Product that is actually “ready in 3 1/2 minutes,” the Product would need to be cooked in the microwave for less than 3-and-a-half minutes, so that all the preparation steps could be completed in the 3-and-a-half minutes timeframe.
13. Consumers are misled to expect the Product will be ready for consumption in a shorter amount of time than it really takes to prepare.

The case was thankfully thrown out over the summer, but Lowering the Bar argues that it was tossed for the wrong reason.

I predicted the case would be “thrown out on ‘reasonable consumer’ grounds,” like the (in)famous Crunch Berries case. It could have been, but instead the court held Ramirez hadn’t alleged an injury and so couldn’t sue in federal court. (Can someone who hasn’t been injured sue in state court? Sometimes! Are the results stupid? Frequently.) More specifically, Ramirez had alleged that she kept buying the product even after learning the awful truth: that it would take at least 211 seconds to get it “ready.” But if she then kept buying the stuff, that suggested she didn’t really care about the 210-second promise, so even if Kraft lied about that, the lie didn’t harm her. She didn’t pay anything extra because of it.
This is the right result—but for the wrong reason.
The court would be right if Ramirez had alleged that she tried to make the mac & cheese at least once, thus learning how long it took to make, and then bought it again anyway. But she didn’t. What’s that? The plaintiff didn’t allege that she tried even once to make the mac & cheese she sued about? Nope. She only alleged that she bought it “between October and November 2022, among other times.” So it’s theoretically possible she bought multiple boxes during that time, possibly stocking up in the event of a natural disaster or a zombie apocalypse or a Trump victory, learning only afterward that a fraud had been perpetrated. In that scenario, she would have been trying to get a refund for a stockpile of mac & cheese that had become utterly useless to her because it could not be ready in 210 seconds.
But … if Ramirez never actually tried to make the mac & cheese (or, I guess, never read the back of the box), how did she learn there was a problem that she needed to sue about? I assume not from the lawyer, because that would mean they just ginned up this claim in order to have a lawsuit. But I guess we’ll never know.

There’s a lot more there, including the revelation that the lawyer in this case has filed many others similar to this one, including one against Frito-Lay over how much lime constitutes a hint.

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