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Monday, November 9, 2009

Cocoa Krispies' Bowl of Legal Troubles Runneth Over

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge A lawsuit in every box...
  • A lawsuit in every box...
Last week we reported how the Kellogg's company was not immune to legal pressure. A sharply worded letter from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera essentially saying "prove it" induced Kellogg's to cease advertising that their sugar-laden Cocoa Krispies cereal boosts kids' immune systems.

Turns out Kellogg's isn't immune to lawsuits, either. A class-action suit filed in Los Angeles goes one step further than Herrera -- asking the cereal company to pay back the customers supposedly duped into buying a so-called immunity aide that just happens to be 40 percent sugar by weight.

Howard Rubinstein, one of the platoon of lawyers representing the plaintiffs, told SF Weekly that Kellogg's capitulation to Herrera won't keep the Los Angeles suit from moving forward. "Are they gonna pay everyone their money back?" queried the lawyer. "What they're trying to do is mitigate damages. Our suit has to do with paying back money to the people who bought that particular product."

Among other counts, the suit charges Kellogg's with false and misleading advertising and unjust enrichment. The latter charge is a nifty double-entendre for a cereal that had claimed to be enriched with vitamins and antioxidants.

On behalf of lead plaintiff Sabena Lakshmi Kammula, the suit alleges all Kellogg's claims of the benefits derived from its so-called immunity-boosting and healthful chocolate cereal are bunk. "Indeed, there is no known clinical study that adequately supports Defendants' claims. ... Additionally Defendants fail to adequately disclose that other ingredients, including but not limited to sugar, chocolate, high-fructose corn syrup, and/or partially hydrogenated oils may not "help support" a child's immunity. Defendants also fail to adequately disclose whether inclusion of such ingredients may outweigh the benefits and thus render the "immunity" claims false and/or misleading."

Hopefully, whatever money comes Kammula's way also outweighs the shame of public disclosure that she actually bought Cocoa Krispies because she thought it would boost the immune system.

H/T | Courthouse News

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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