One fascinating legal dispute making recent headlines is a $5 million case for what the plaintiff describes as deceptive and fraudulent packaging.
Florida resident Amanda Ramirez sued the Kraft Heinz Co. for at least $5 million because Kraft’s Velveeta Shells & Cheese Microwavable Shell Pasta takes longer than 3½ minutes to prepare even though its packing states “Ready in 3½ minutes,” which in her mind constitutes fraud.
“To provide consumers with a Product that is actually ‘ready in 3½ 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,” reads the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Southern Florida.
The suit lists the mac and cheese’s five instructions that appear on the product packaging, from removing the lid, adding water, microwaving it and then stirring in a powdered cheese sauce into the resulting cooked pasta.
What the plaintiff focuses on is the fifth instruction, “Cheese sauce will thicken upon standing,” saying that constitutes a longer “Ready” time than the packaging claims. “Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3½ minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product,” the suit reads.
“However, the directions outlined above show that 3-and-a-half minutes is just the length of time to complete one of several steps. The label does not state the Product takes ‘3½ minutes to cook in the microwave,’ which would have been true.”
Ramirez claims in the suit that because Kraft’s Velveeta product is sold at a “Premium price,” stating that it costs “Approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups, excluding tax and sales,” the product is priced “Higher than similar products represented in a non-misleading way” and “Higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions.”
“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 lawsuit reads.
Sheehan is well known for suing the big companies that make items found in the grocery store, reportedly bringing more than 400 lawsuits targeting products you probably have in your pantry right now, according to NPR. So it appears we have a serial plaintiff with a taste for Mac and cheese this time.
You can’t even walk down the grocery store aisle without running into a legal dispute. They are EVERYWHERE! And when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business including bankruptcies, landlord/tenant matters including unlawful detainers, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in your good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!
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