This week's Most Absurd Lawsuit award goes to a suit filed by one Jessica Gomez of San Bernardino County in a California state court alleging that the Northern California-based Jelly Belly company misled her and other consumers with the nutritional information on their "Sport Beans." Unbeknownst to many of us, probably, Jelly Belly got into the athletic fuel category with these packets of Sport Beans marketed to athletes, claiming to have essential electrolytes, vitamins, and carbohydrates for training there's also an Extreme version of the beans that contains caffeine. But as Forbes reports, Gomez and her attorneys claim that the nutritional information, the first listed ingredient of which is "evaporated cane juice," is misleading, because that's just another word for sugar.
Jelly Belly's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the suit last month, saying in the motion, "This is nonsense," and telling Gomez to simply read the nutritional information. Under carbohydrates, each 28-gram serving size contains 17 grams of sugar, as the Sacramento Bee notes.
The motion further read, "No reasonable consumer could have been deceived by Sport Beans’ labeling Gomez could not have seen ‘evaporated cane juice’ without also seeing the product’s sugar content on its Nutrition Facts panel. And she has pled no facts to suggest that athletes, who consume this product to sustain intense exercise, would want to avoid sugar rather than affirmatively seek it."
Fox News had a field day with this one, too, noting that Gomez's suit blames the jelly bean company for using "fancy phrasing" to mislead her and other consumers. The suit, filed as a class action, claims that claims the wording on the label violates the state's Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Business Practices Law and False Advertising Law.
To Gomez and her attorneys' credit, there are in fact FDA guidelines discouraging the use of terms like "evaporated cane juice" in place of sugar, however these are not law.