Alert: Crunchberries Are Not Real Berries

Late last month, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she’d been buying Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal for four years under the assumption that crunchberries are a real berry. “The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said ‘berries’ were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls.”

In his decision, the judge wrote,

This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a “crunchberry.” Furthermore, the “Crunchberries” depicted on the [box] are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the [box] clearly states both that the Product contains “sweetened corn & oat cereal” and that the cereal is “enlarged to show texture.” Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. . . . So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.

According to Lowering the Bar, the blog that reported this decision, this isn’t even the first time someone has done this:

Judge England also noted another federal court had “previously rejected substantially similar claims directed against the packaging of Fruit Loops [sic] cereal, and brought by these same Plaintiff attorneys.” He found that their attack on “Crunchberries” should fare no better than their prior claims that “Froot Loops” did not contain real froot.

“Reasonable Consumer Would Know “Crunchberries” Are Not Real, Judge Rules” [Lowering the Bar] (Thanks to YourTechSupport!)

Comments

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  1. Adrienne Willis says:

    Why cant we just shoot stupid people immediately?

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I have so many thoughts on this, but I just…can’t…express them…words not forming…absolute disbelief.

    I’ll leave you with the first one:

    Plaintiff claimed that this message was reinforced by other marketing representing the product as a “combination of Crunch biscuits and colorful red, purple, teal and green berries.”

    Cause there are so many teal-colored berries out there…

  3. Yamunation says:

    I ate this same cereal, with crunchberries, when I was 10 years old. No one had to tell me that the berries were not real. I’m wondering what lawyer decided to take her case and thought it could hold up in court.

  4. Canino says:

    They’re real to me!

  5. I Love New Jersey says:

    Shakespeare was apparently right when it came to lawyers.

    • Kaellorian says:

      @I Love New Jersey: I can assure you that many of his peers are facepalming and sending him “dude, what were you thinking?” vibes. I certainly am. Idiot.

      • billy says:

        To be fair, the judge and the opposing counsel are not such idiots. The judge seems pretty funny, actually.

        You have to remember: in a lawsuit, there’s always going to be the one who gets it totally wrong…but the other guy is going to get it totally right.

  6. kagekiri says:

    Next: a person realizes “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” isn’t butter! Lawsuit ensues!

    • Inkheart says:

      @kagekiri: LOL, that just made my day! =)

    • MustyBuckets says:

      @kagekiri: I can’t believe that.

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @kagekiri: High five! :) lol

    • dru_zod says:

      @kagekiri:

      Here’s a preview of the court case, quoted from the British sitcom, “The Vicar of Dibley”:

      Alice: You know that stuff they’re selling now at the local shop?
      Geraldine:Which stuff?
      Alice: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.
      Geraldine:Oh yes
      Alice: Well, I can’t believe it’s not butter.
      Geraldine: Yeah, well I believe that is the idea, yeah.
      Alice: Then yesterday, I went to Crookenden and I bought this other stuff, like a sort of home-brand, you know?
      Geraldine: Yes…
      Alice: And you know, I can’t believe it’s not “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.
      Geraldine: Mmm. I’m losing you now.
      Alice: Well, you know “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”?
      Geraldine: Yeah, you think it is butter.
      Alice: No no, I mean you know the stuff that I can’t believe is not butter is called “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.
      Geraldine: Probably, yeah, yeah.
      Alice: Well I can’t believe the stuff that is not “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is not “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”, and I can’t believe that both “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and the stuff that I can’t believe is not “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” are both, in fact, not butter. And I believe they both might be butter, in a cunning disguise. And in fact there’s a lot more butter around than we all thought there was.
      Geraldine: Yeah. You see, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  7. Hepcephus says:

    Next you’ll tell me dingleberries aren’t high in vitamin C.

  8. 6a says:

    OK, let me get this right…I have no idea what a crunchberry is, so let me run out and eat some! For four years! Yeah!

    Wonder who broke her heart by telling her they weren’t real.

  9. Nytmare says:

    I’ve never had them, but they do look a bit like dried fruit in the picture. Little, multi-colored dried-up fruits that stay crispy and crunchy in milk.

    (Why is it that Grape-Nuts contains neither grapes nor nuts?)

  10. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Meanwhile, overheard in a genetic engineering lab in Monsanto…

    “Cancel the crunchberry project! CAN-CEL the CRUNCH-BERRY project!”

  11. swearint says:

    But the snozberries do taste like snozberries.

    I can accept that there are some ignorant people out there, but the bigger insult is that there are lawyers willing to take on a case like this, more than once even. What does it matter if the crunchberries are not real, where is the injury?

  12. Slow2Whine says:

    In a related note, FUNYUNS¬Æ are not made with real onions…more devastating culinary news to be reported after the break.

  13. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    What about the fact that Basic 4 cereal touts on their packaging (presumably) four basic elements to a balanced cereal, but actually only contains three notable ingredients, since “delicious” is not edible.

    The text on the box says: A Delicious Blend of Sweet and Tangy Fruits, Crunchy Nuts and a Wholesome Variety of Grains

    with the words “delicious,” “fruits,” “nuts,” and “grains,” in green.

    All I’m seeing is Basic 3.

  14. YourTechSupport says:

    Also, Animal Crackers do not contain Animals.
    There are no Angels in Angel Food Cake
    There is plenty of sin in Devil’s Food Cake, but meh.

  15. Kaellorian says:

    Oh man, I’ve commented on this article on the ABA’s website, but it’s hard to resist the urge to post more.

    I can’t believe a lawyer took this case on. I’m sure many of his/her peers will join me in grimacing at this lawyer and giving people fuel for the I Hate Lawyers fire.

    Fruity pebbles are not rocks. I’m suing.

    • Powerlurker says:

      @Kaellorian:

      As long as he wasn’t doing this on a contingency basis, why not? Her money is just as green as any other client’s.

      • sir_pantsalot says:

        @Powerlurker: I would consider it a form of attempted “legal” theft.

      • m4ximusprim3 says:

        @Powerlurker: Right, but I pay the judge and the clerk and the baliff and the court recorder. And my wife is about to have to take manditory furloughs from her job at a state college, while these jackasses piss away public money arguing that some dumb ho couldn’t figure out in 4 years what every child figures out in 5 seconds.

        God, it smokes my goat.

      • Kaellorian says:

        @Powerlurker: I would agree – but rarely do lawsuits of this nature work on an hourly or flat rate fee basis. I’m an attorney that handles a lot of civil litigation (for plaintiffs mainly) and I wouldn’t imagine touching this with a ten foot pole. It’s truly a waste of the court’s time.

    • ARP says:

      @Kaellorian: I with you. Lawyers already have a bad name. This just makes it worse. I wish sanctions were used more frequently for situations like this. Judges don’t issue sanctions nearly enough. Hell, even if they get overturned on appeal, that lawyer still has to fight it. Perhaps it will teach him/her to think twice about filing frivolous suits.

      • Kaellorian says:

        @ARP: Sanctions piss lawyers off and judges count on the support of the lawyers in their practice area. I agree with you, though, that for the sake of transparency (ha!) and judicial economy, sanctions should be issues in more circumstances.

    • EBBlond says:

      @Kaellorian: The case was discussed at length on a legal list serve to which our office subscribes. Almost without exception, the attorneys who responded had nothing good to say about a lawyer who would file such a suit in the first place. It embarrasses all of us who work in the legal profession.

      Personally, I wonder about the intelligence of any parent who would feed that sort of crap to their children. There are plenty of cereals and other breakfast foods readily available that are actually good for kids, and they’re no more expensive than sugar cereals. Otherwise, you might as well just feed them a bowl full of milk duds steeped in pancake syrup.

  16. korybing says:

    What an amazing use of the justice system! Keep it classy, lady. Now is the time to put together your case against animal crackers because it is cruelty to animals.

  17. JGKojak says:

    Stay classy, San Diego.

    • m4ximusprim3 says:

      @JGKojak: oh, believe me, if I ever see this lady on the street, I’ll hit her so hard she’ll see fruit loops for a week.

  18. TerpBE says:

    At least I can still get my daily fruit servings from dingleberries.

  19. vladthepaler says:

    I hope the defendants in this case get their court costs reimbursed.

  20. MinervaAutolycus says:

    Don’t tell her about Soylent Green!

  21. Saboth says:

    I lost my lawsuits too recently. Turns out the ghosts in were not poltergeists, but actually marshmallows. Also, it turns out Tony the Tiger is not a real person.

  22. Ben Popken says:

    Oh noes!

  23. Steven Irish says:

    “They’re real to me!”

    best comment, period.

  24. Borax-Johnson says:

    Personally I prefer maiden oil, but I digress….

  25. Kenny Strong says:

    OMG!!!!! You mean my diamonds in my Lucky Charms aren’t real diamonds either!?!! No wonder they guy at the pawn shop looked at me like I was high!

  26. labeled says:

    Sadly, in similar news, PETA has yet to join my suit against Jack In The Box.

    You’d think they would be all over it, what with the tiny little cows the size of shnauzers.

    • SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

      @labeled: this is soooo possible. I am going to dedicate my life to miniature cow breeding. Then once this breed is established, I will work them down to “Toy” size and finally I get “Teacup” cattle, small enough to fit in your front pocket. I’m sure my gecko would love some live steak, crickets can get pretty bland, or so I’ve heard.

  27. yevarechecha says:

    The tag of this should be changed to, “Better Know a Berry.”

  28. chocogray says:

    Oh great, now I’m thinking that Cap’n Crunch doesn’t actually have the credentials required to navigate a marine vessel

  29. H3ion says:

    1. Some people should require a license before they’re allowed to breed.

    2. Some lawyers provide the best argument for closing about half of our law schools and requiring remedial head slapping in the remainder.

  30. Tian (www.tian.cc) says:

    Damn it!

    I was going to file a lawsuit regarding dingleberries!

  31. pschroeter says:

    Funny, just today I noticed Walmart was snow elling a generic store brand of this cereal which was a lot cheaper. At one time weren’t crunchberries only red?

  32. DrGirlfriend says:

    Oh no. I am starting to suspect that Honeycomb cereal isn’t made up of actual honeycombs. And that Frankenberries might not be berries! And all this time I avoided Fruity Pebbles becauise I had a feeling that, even if they were fruity, it might not be good for my teeth to eat pebbles.

    I’ll just eat Cookie Crisp from now on, since at least they are more honest about their ingredients.

  33. Wit is periodically disensouled says:

    People ask all the time how criminal defense attorneys can look themselves in the mirror (Personally, I have the highest respect for them), but I want to know how this guy does it. Because… wow.

    My wingnut-solo-practitioner-dar is going off.

  34. GitemHomerJay! says:

    Not real my ass! Tell that to the fields of crunchberry bushes I’ve been harvesting for those fuckin’ Quakers my whole adult life!

  35. RobertBaron says:

    What’s she going to do when she discovers Grape Nuts aren’t grape nuts(?), grape seeds, grape byproduct or even freakin nuts?

  36. SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

    I just sent the doofus lawyer a bogus email about wanting to file fraud charges for Honeycomb cereal. Waste his time here: [www.hewell-law.com]

  37. Sarcastikate says:

    OK, let’s see…..a woman goes to a lawyer, explains her case, lawyer actually decides to take said case, court actually decides to hear said case — as my mom would say…the whole country is just going to hell in a handbasket (I don’t pretend to know what a handbasket actually is).

  38. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    One word: Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  39. ndonahue says:

    I don’t like where this is going… Next thing you know someone’s going to tell me there is no whiz in cheez whiz.

    Who the hell is going to buy all these bottles of whiz i’ve been saving?

  40. Mark Swieca says:

    I have nothing noteworthy to add, but to state that the rare, elusive Crunchberry is delicious.

    Oh, and that TGI Friday’s new “Snake N’ Broc” appetizer does contain real snake!

  41. runswithscissors says:

    “Do you have any fruit?”

    “This donut has purple stuff in it… purple is a fruit…”

  42. lestat730 says:

    Consumerist, thank you! I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

  43. a_pink_poodle says:

    This is like that thing in England where they had to say on a chocolate bar that it had milk in it, despite the fact that the words MILK CHOCOLATE BAR were printed in all caps in plain English on the front with a picture of two glasses of milk being poured into a chocolate bar.

  44. jstonemo says:

    The plaintiffs lawyer should be dis-barred automatically. We need to have penalties in place for frivolous lawsuits, like firing squads, etc. Tort reform FTW!

  45. BlazerUnit says:

    This lady’s mind is going to be really blown when she finds out there really was a Chef Boyardee.

  46. Dave says:

    Cross-posted from Reddit:

    nce it was the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, I’m guessing that this is the same ‘Janine Sugawara’:
    [www.imdb.com]
    [www.linkedin.com]

    A casting associate for such great films like ‘xXx: State of the Union’ and ‘Ten Inch Hero’. Jeez she sounds like she works for porn films, but somehow that’s not the case!

    Her last job was as a casting associate for ‘Rise’ in 2007, so looks like the job market was slow. What perfect time to try and sue someone for money!

  47. David Klicka says:

    froot.

  48. Halloway says:

    Over here in the UK it’s been revealed recently that Shreddies are not actually knitted by nanas, despite what the adverts would have you believe.

  49. David in Brasil says:

    Well, Goldfish (TM) are gold, aren’t they?

    I’m going to go check right now..

  50. lehrdude says:

    If scientists discover a new species of berry on some island in Indonesia and decides to name it a Crunch Berry, does this lawsuit then have merit?

  51. edrebber says:

    I hope this person didn’t have the same misconception about dingle berries.

  52. bairdwallace says:

    “did not contain real froot.”

    I think they contain real froot, just not real fruit.

  53. SilleeString says:

    C’mon guys, stop pulling my leg. This is most definitely a joke, I mean it’s April fir….

    Oh, it’s June 5th? This is a true story? I just…I have no words…

  54. mmmsoap says:

    He found that their attack on “Crunchberries” should fare no better than their prior claims that “Froot Loops” did not contain real froot.

    I see what you did there…

  55. starzshine says:

    It’s folks like this that make me understand why there is a warning on your hairdryer that instructs you not to us it in the shower.

    Seriously people… Come on.

  56. tmed says:

    This is why I stick strictly to Boo and Frankens.

  57. dianashotko says:

    Does it contain electrolytes? I love me some cereal w/ electrolytes.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I have decided to pursue legal action as well.
    The name of the cereal is Cap’N Crunch, and I have found there to be neither any chunks of sea captains, and just in case I misunderstood “Cap’N”, I looked for pieces of Caps and any sort of headwear. Nothing. I expect a large settlement.

  59. Daniels says:

    It saddens me that these attorneys have brought this lawsuit twice with two different cereals and apparently are not going to face any penalty for wasting the court’s time.

  60. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    What’s next – dingleberries?

  61. kbrook says:

    I am shocked, shocked, I tell you!

  62. TerribleDecade says:

    How could they consider this food? Especially fruity pebbles.

  63. newfenoix says:

    As I said in my post about the orange juice 911 call, stupidity is epidemic. This isn’t funny in the least. It is very, very sad. An educated attorney took this into a court of law at the request of a very confused individual. Does this not seem pathetically stupid to anyone else?

  64. Black-Cat says:

    Wow! This is the stupidest bitch alive! I looked on line and she actually has been legally employed! That’s great for someone with the i.q. of a carrot stick!