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'Crunch Berries' Cereal Lawsuit Turns Soggy in Court

By David Goguen on June 10, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Plaintiff: 'Crunch Berries' Aren't Real Fruit
Judge: No #@!%

Four years is an entire term of office for a President of the United States. It's how long Michael Phelps has to wait between additions to his gold medal collection. Four years is high school. It's also the amount of time it took a California woman to learn that the "berries" in "Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries" cereal aren't an actual fruit, according to a lawsuit that was thrown out of a California court a few weeks back.

Plaintiff Janice Sugawara and her straight-faced attorneys brought false advertising, misrepresentation, and other consumer protection claims against PepsiCo (which owns Quaker), for allegedly making her believe that the "Crunch Berries" in the cereal are actual berries.

The lawsuit stopped short of accusing Cap'n Crunch of impersonating a military officer, but did seek an unspecified dollar amount and asked that the phrase "strawberry artificially flavored cereal" be placed prominently on the "Crunch Berries" cereal box.

Sugawara claimed that she ate the cereal for four years before learning the fruitless truth. She also sought to turn the lawsuit into a class action, which would have meant that other consumers were a) similarly duped into thinking that nature produces something called a "Crunch Berry", and b) actually willing to admit to holding such a belief in the space between their ears.

In dismissing the lawsuit on May 20, as News10/KXTV notes, federal district court Judge Morrison England, Jr. said "a reasonable consumer" would not believe that "Crunch Berries" cereal contained actual fruit. Judge England then pointed out that one of Sugawara's lawyers also brought a similar case (also dismissed) over Froot Loops cereal.

Don't give up, counselor. Your grocery store's breakfast food aisle remains an untapped gold mine of litigation. There you'll find a certain cereal that is alarmingly free of both grapes and nuts, despite its name. And you may catch a glimpse of an elusive and diminutive Irishman who promises orange stars, green clovers, and blue diamonds by the spoonful. So, file away. Silly rabbit.

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