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What?? There are no berries in Cap'N Crunch Crunchberries Cereal??

ipsedixit Jun 5, 2009 09:25 PM

Ah, you gotta love our litigious (and maybe moronic?) society ...


What's next, are you going to tell me that there are no "horses" in horseradish sauce?

  1. Withnail42 Jun 6, 2009 06:35 AM

    This moron and people like her clog up the system needlessly. Hopefully this idiot had to at least pay the court costs.

    Too bad the judge can't lock some up for being incomprehensibly stupid.

    1. g
      Greekfood Koukla Jun 6, 2009 08:05 AM

      I don't know guys, in one way sure, I think it's frivolous and silly that she actually took the time to do this, perhaps she had alot of time on her hands or needed some extra cash due to the recessionary times....but on the other hand, I have to somewhat applaud her for trying to make a point. Albeit a fruitless one. :) Just by looking at the package, I'd also think that there were 'real' ie. de-hydrated pellets of something that at least resembled fruit, so I think she was right in that complaint. But hey, after you've heard the McDonald's hot coffee story, you've heard them all...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Greekfood Koukla
        spellweaver16 Jun 6, 2009 07:21 PM

        You've hit on my pet peeve, using the McDonald's case as an example of a frivolous lawsuit :)
        1. The health department had told McDonald's that they were serving their coffee too hot.
        2. McDonald's did not comply, and had settled other complaints of a similar nature outside of court.
        3. The woman was a passenger in a vehicle that had pulled to the side to a full stop.
        4. The coffee was hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns within seconds. These were not just a bit of redness or blistering. She needed skin grafts.
        5. She originally only asked that McDonald's pay her medical bills. Medical bills ONLY but McDonald's refused, and that is when she took it to court.

        Source: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm

        1. re: spellweaver16
          Lizard Jun 7, 2009 06:54 AM

          Thank you, Spellweaver! That is one of my peeves too, and it's so nice for someone to explain the issue.

          Additionally, I find it funny that chowhounds, who should be particularly aware of appropriate temperatures for serving food, should think coffee should be served at a temperature that would require skin grafts.

          Ultimately, though, I find this kind of attention to anecdote troubling, because ultimately, they function to position society against the individuals taking issue with corporations. Both the framing of this story and the lack of important detail as outlined by spellweaver function to make sure that we all feel that litigation is part of a ludicrous impulse, of time-consuming idiocy, etc, and not a means of checking corporate carelessness gone wild. If they're big and broad missions, they are ok, but typically too big; if they are contained, they are frivolous and subject to mockery straightaway.

          That said, I'm not so much talking about this crunchberry situation; but only because I don't know the full intent of the suit.

          1. re: spellweaver16
            jujuthomas Jun 7, 2009 06:57 AM

            Thank you spellweaver, I had never heard the full story. On the surface it seemed so crazy.
            The idea of someone thinking that there are real berries in crunchberries cereal is what hit my funny bone. I can't imagine going to court of something that silly, but perhaps she thought it was like those special k cereals with the dehydrated fruit in them. :)

            1. re: spellweaver16
              JohnE O Jun 7, 2009 07:48 AM

              Don't believe everything you read from the Academy of Trial Lawyers (aka the plaintiff's bar). For another take on this lawsuit read:


              1. Starbucks currently serves their coffee at the same temperature that burned the plaintiff.
              2. McDonald's had only 700 complaints regarding hot coffee over the previous decade (that's about a couple billion cups).
              3. She sat in the puddle of coffee for over 90 seconds.
              4. The plaintiff changed her demand from medical bills of around $20,000 to over $300,000.
              4. There was a "hot coffee" warning on her cup, but the jury determined it was too small.

              1. re: JohnE O
                alanbarnes Jun 7, 2009 04:27 PM

                Don't believe everything you read from overlawyered.com, a mouthpiece for the most extreme tort reform advocates (aka those who would allow corporations to injure individuals with impunity)

                1. Wrong. Starbucks coffee is brewed at about 200F, but is typically served around 165-175F. (Don't believe me? Get a thermometer and check for yourself.) McDonalds required its franchisees to set the thermostats on the urns at 190F.

                2. "Only" 700 complaints? Only? Including complaints from the Health Department and the Shriners' Burn Hospitals? C'mon, give me a break.

                3. Irrelevant. Even boiling coffee cools quickly after it's been spilled. Surface area, and all. It's how much damage the coffee will do before it cools that's the issue. And although there are lots of variables involved, the simple fact is that 190F coffee will cause worse burns than 170F coffee.

                4. She only changed her demand after McDonalds refused to pay her medical bills.

                4 (again; or 5, for those of us who can count). The jury didn't just reject the "hot coffee" warning because it was too small, but because it was insufficient - everybody knows that coffee is hot, but McDonalds failed to warn that the coffee was significantly hotter than from any other retail source.

              2. re: spellweaver16
                Wursthof Jun 7, 2009 03:39 PM

                Why would any health department tell any restaurant establishment that a beverage or soup for that matter is "too hot" to be served?? Doesn't stuff going in a steamtable have to be reheated to140 or so degrees anyway?

            2. JohnE O Jun 6, 2009 08:14 AM

              The judge should have set up a competency hearing for the plaintiff after dismissing the suit. The really sad thing is that people like this are allowed to vote and drive cars.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JohnE O
                Withnail42 Jun 6, 2009 08:53 AM

                The same thoughts ran though my mind.

              2. j
                jujuthomas Jun 6, 2009 01:48 PM

                I read that in the paper the other day! Nearly spit out my coffee!

                1. chowser Jun 6, 2009 01:52 PM

                  Oh, maybe that explains why I get funny looks when I ask the nursery for a crunchberry tree.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowser
                    goodhealthgourmet Jun 6, 2009 07:34 PM


                    thanks chowser, i needed that :)

                  2. a
                    adamshoe Jun 6, 2009 04:24 PM

                    Surprise!! There are no berries in dingleberries, either... adam

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: adamshoe
                      dmjordan Jun 7, 2009 04:53 AM

                      Hilarious! Now I must go clean the coffee from my computer screen.

                      1. re: adamshoe
                        thew Jun 9, 2009 08:32 PM

                        that really depends on what you've been eating

                      2. alanbarnes Jun 7, 2009 04:30 PM

                        Fact is, the complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim (as it should have been). The defendant didn't have to do anything except ask the judge to toss the case out, and he did. End of story.

                        Yes, the plaintiff was an idiot. But the system worked.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: alanbarnes
                          Samalicious Jun 9, 2009 03:03 PM

                          The ruling is being appealed.
                          Kill me plz.

                          1. re: Samalicious
                            alanbarnes Jun 9, 2009 03:30 PM

                            You sure you aren't just hearing about the Motion for Reconsideration? That's not an appeal, it's just a request that the judge look at the issue again. It was filed about a week ago, and Judge England denied it yesterday.

                          2. re: alanbarnes
                            JohnE O Jun 9, 2009 07:05 PM

                            The system worked, but not for free. Even preparing a simple motion, filing and arguing it can cost several thousand. Add that to the cost of your bowl of cereal.

                            1. re: JohnE O
                              alanbarnes Jun 9, 2009 07:54 PM

                              I think PepsiCo can afford it. That cost is a fraction of what the company spends on a single one of the hundreds of TV commercials they run every day. So I doubt that it's going to seriously impact their bottom line - or the cost of a bowl of their processed crap.

                              Of course, it might significantly increase profit margins if we were to allow food processors to use stuff like melamine as an ingredient. Especially if we make it prohibitively difficult for people to use the courts to call the company to account.

                              When individuals are given the right to challenge the practices of large companies, some stupid challenges will be raised. And yes, it will cost money to defeat them. That's an inefficiency that's inherent in the system.

                              But when individuals don't have that right (especially in the absence of effective government oversight), companies consistently engage in behavior that brings them benefit at the expense of the public. And that results in far greater and more serious economic inefficiencies.

                              The US legal system is far from perfect, and it occasionally results in profoundly unjust results. This is not one of those cases.

                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                JohnE O Jun 10, 2009 05:01 AM

                                Behind personnel costs, legal expenses are the 2nd highest cost incurred by our company to operate. It significantly adds to the cost of a final product and I guarantee you that PepsiCo is no exception.

                                Full disclosure: I've been a claims adjuster for over 20 years. Just addressing the food related claims alone many have merit but there are also an incredible amount of frivolous claims as well. They all put a drain on the system and get passed onto the consumer eventually.

                                1. re: JohnE O
                                  alanbarnes Jun 10, 2009 07:26 AM

                                  No doubt money is wasted defending frivolous claims. By the same token, enormous legal resources are wasted prosecuting meritorious claims that should simply have been paid instead of being litigated. It's an inefficiency that's inherent in the system

                                  There is room for honest disagreement about how to fine-tune that system. But all in all, works better than most. Taken on the macro scale, it ends up being a little bit unfair to everybody.

                          3. thew Jun 9, 2009 08:34 PM

                            the same lawyers previously, with a different plaintiff, sued fruit loops for the same thing, and had the case dismissed

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: thew
                              kmcarr Jun 10, 2009 08:05 AM

                              I saw that too which makes me suspect that it is this particular lawyer(s) who is driving these suits; the named plaintiffs are just that, plaintiffs in name only.

                              1. re: thew
                                babette feasts Jun 20, 2009 01:10 PM

                                But they are FROOT loops, not fruit loops, they are not claiming to have fruit, only froot.

                                1. re: thew
                                  DanaB Jun 21, 2009 12:13 PM

                                  As an attorney, I understand the need for and I am an advocate of consumer protection statutes and class action suits, when used for the proper purposes, but there are attorneys who regularly abuse these processes by filing lawsuits over minor, trivial and sometimes ludicrious claims. Said attorneys do so because all of these statutes include fee provisions. Oftentimes the results of the suits will end up with de minimis benefits for the plaintiffs and a hefty fee award for the plaintiffs' attorneys, which is the motivation of the attorneys in the first instance, despite their claims to the alternative. It is attorneys like the ones who filed this crunchberry lawsuit who give all lawyers a bad name.

                                2. m
                                  melly Jun 16, 2009 08:30 AM

                                  No berries, no santa claus, they use fake eyelashes in mascara commercials, and there is not a state in the US called denial.

                                  1. Withnail42 Jun 17, 2009 05:15 AM

                                    Apparently this moron had been a long time consumer of Crunch Berries and only recently realized that there were no real berries in the cereal.

                                    1. FabFrugalFoodie Jun 20, 2009 10:02 AM

                                      I'll be filing my own Grape Nuts suit shortly.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: FabFrugalFoodie
                                        thew Jun 20, 2009 12:27 PM

                                        for a second i read that you would be "filling you own grape nuts suit" and that was a mental image i did not need

                                        1. re: FabFrugalFoodie
                                          Caralien Jun 21, 2009 12:51 PM

                                          Grape Nuts was named in a relative suit (which was tossed):

                                          Too bad the same article negates the ability for someone to sue Coca Cola for not having a higher percentage of its namesake.

                                          "The use of a compound name does not necessarily * * * indicate that the article to which the name is applied contains the substances whose names make up the compound. Thus, soda water contains no soda; the butternut contains no butter; cream of tartar contains no cream; nor milk of lime any milk. Grape fruit is not the fruit of the grape; nor is bread fruit the fruit of bread; the pineapple is foreign to both the pine and the apple; and the manufactured food known as Grape Nuts contains neither grapes nor nuts.‘ ..."

                                          Don't forget that avocados, while named in part after lawyers, has origins in something completely different.

                                          1. re: Caralien
                                            chowser Jun 21, 2009 02:47 PM

                                            "The use of a compound name does not necessarily * * * indicate that the article to which the name is applied contains the substances whose names make up the compound. "

                                            Hence, "girl scout" cookies... Sorry, old joke.

                                            1. re: chowser
                                              Servorg Jun 21, 2009 05:43 PM

                                              If you can't get GS cookies then Brownies may tide you over till you can... ;-D>

                                            2. re: Caralien
                                              thew Jun 21, 2009 05:46 PM

                                              and hence the appletini etc.... (heehee)

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