Federal District Judge James Shadid dismissed a frivolous lawsuit brought by an angry consumer in his jurisdiction. It was intended as a future class action, affecting all consumers of Pop-Tarts nationwide. Kellogg managed to convince the court that Frosted Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts aren’t advertised deceptively, even though there’s not a hint of fudge in them.
Judge dismisses fake-fudge
On Thursday, June 2, U.S. District Judge James Shadid issued a ruling to dismiss the frivolous nonsense Plaintiff Roberta Reinitz expected to cash in on.
A hearing was held in Peoria, Illinois, to consider the merits of plaintiff’s allegations that “Kellogg’s labeling, including an image showing a chunk of fudge, violated federal and state consumer protection laws.” It was a nice try.
Reinitz, who happens to reside in Chatsworth, Illinois, alleges “she would not have bought the Pop-Tarts or would have paid less for them had she known they contained no milk and butter.”
Milkfat, she argued, is “essential to fudge.” Well, that may be true to a chef out to produce genuine fudge, the judge agrees, but we’re talking about Pop-Tarts here.
The average consumer, Kellogg counters, doesn’t even expect Pop-Tarts to be food. Judge Shadid agrees. In his written decision, Shadid notes, “Reinitz failed to show that reasonable consumers would expect fudge to contain milkfat.”
Even if they did, no jury in today’s society would find that “a chocolate-tasting fudge product made from oils and whey would mislead a reasonable consumer.”
Not the defining ingredients
Lawyers for Kellogg got the ball rolling by asking the judge to dismiss the suit because milk and butter are not properly the “defining ingredients” of fudge. Not only that, on the label, fudge simply refers to the flavor.
The average American consumer, at least the ones who buy Pop-Tarts, “would interpret it to mean that the product tastes like chocolate.” Since it more or less does, they’re off the hook.
Ms. Reinitz isn’t happy to see her lawyer looking so dejected. What the judge said Thursday only adds to the pile of failures in his anti-Pop-Tart litigation crusade. He told his client that he’s rethinking his strategy.
Specifically whether to go back to the drawing board for another try, or just go home and get liquored up.
Not just one judge but three have now told Spencer Sheehan to go away and forget about it. He also filed a suit against Kellogg claiming they “did not use enough strawberries in its frosted or unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.”
The average consumer doesn’t expect either fudge or strawberry. They’re perfectly happy eating lab synthesized substances, as long as the products are fast, take no skills to prepare, and don’t leave anything behind to clean up.
For bonus points, National Lampoon weighed in on the heart of this controversy back in 1978. Warning, not for sensitive ears!