Not every ridiculous lawsuit filed during the year can make it into the upper echelon of absurdity, so this year we are awarding Dishonorable Mentions to a handful of suits that didn’t quite make the cut, but still leave us scratching our heads in disbelief.
NJ man sues over Breyers ‘all natural’ marketing.
New Jersey is a virtually invites food-based litigation with its overly broad Consumer Fraud Act (CFA). In fact, New Jersey is second only to California in the number of food-based lawsuits filed in its courts. Plaintiffs are eager to file food-based CFA claims in New Jersey for several reasons:
- Plaintiffs do not have to prove that defendants actually defrauded or deceived them to recover damages – a technical violation of the law will suffice.
- Plaintiffs do not need to show out-of-pocket losses.
- Plaintiffs do not need to live in New Jersey to file a claim here.
- Prevailing plaintiffs are routinely awarded treble (aka triple) damages and reimbursement of their attorney fees and court costs.
The lawsuit against Breyers over the marking of its ice cream is just one of many examples of food labeling litigation in the state.
Drivers delayed by “Bridgegate” file class action lawsuit.
Individuals and businesses who claim they became trapped in Fort Lee traffic last September when local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were blocked, have filed a class action lawsuit against various government employees and the Port Authority. The 11-count complaint filed against the defendants alleges civil rights violations, official misconduct, conspiracy, false imprisonment, emotional distress and breach of contract claims.
Unilever sues competitor to protect consumers from egg-free “mayo.”
Consumers are not the only beneficiaries of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. Unilever, the maker of the popular mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s, is using the CFA to seek retribution against its business competition, all in the name of consumer protection. Unilever has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Newark against the popular start-up company Hampton Creek over its competing product, Just Mayo. One of Just Mayo’s main selling points is that it does not contain eggs, thus, Unilever alleges, it is allegedly in violation of the federal law defining mayonnaise. Should Unilever prevail, they are seeking three times the amount of profit Hampton Creek has generated from the sale of Just Mayo as damages plus a reimbursement of their attorney fees.
Man who couldn’t get Beach Boys tickets sues Wal-Mart.
Even the judge thought this case was frivolous. A man filed a Consumer Fraud Act lawsuit against Wal-Mart and Ticketmaster because he was not able to buy the exact Beach Boy concert tickets he wanted at a self-service ticket kiosk.
The nominees for 2014’s Most Ludicrous Lawsuit are even more ridiculous. Click here to check out this year’s nominees and cast your vote for which one should be crowned 2014’s Most Ludicrous Lawsuit.