Photo via pxhere
Brace yourself for a blog about one of the more mind-numbing lawsuits in recent memory. In September 2017, California resident Summer Sandoval filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against confectionery manufacturer YumEarth Inc.
Within her complaint, Sandoval claimed that YumEarth knowingly engaged in deceptive marketing tactics by neglecting to list “sugar” as one of its ingredients for YumEarth Organics Vitamin C Pops, instead using the more opaque term “evaporated cane juice,” which is really sugar in cosplay. (Notably, the online ingredients for the product now list “organic cane sugar.“ When reached via email on Tuesday, YumEarth declined to comment on anything pertaining to the suit.)
Sandoval reportedly purchased the lollipops falsely believing that they were healthy and did not have copious amounts of sugar.
Last week, as Legal Newsline reported on Monday, a district judge moved the case back to San Bernardino Superior Court because there wasn’t sufficient proof that the number of bags Sandoval purchased would meet exceed the $75,000 threshold that’d qualify this case for federal jurisdiction. (That would have been about 8,000 bags.)
To Sandoval’s credit, evaporated cane juice is a contentious term; as the FDA noted in 2016, the term is somewhat misleading to consumers who may be unaware that it refers to sugar. Still, this acknowledgment was more of a gentle recommendation to companies than an ironclad rule that they use more direct language, giving YumEarth free rein to use that terminology.
This case recalls the bone-chilling inanity of an analogous lawsuit against Jelly Belly, filed in 2017, that argued along these very lines, claiming that “evaporated cane juice” was misleading marketing.
Turns out the firm representing the plaintiff in that case, Apex Trial Law, is also behind this YumEarth lawsuit!
YumEarth, in November, moved to dismiss Sandoval and Apex's claim, calling her claims “frivolous and nonsensical.” The company also noted that Sandoval’s lawyer, Ryan M. Ferrell, has got troubles of his own. According to Legal Newsline, Ferrell was implicated in a 2015 racketeering lawsuit that accused Ferrell and his former firm, Newport Trial Group, of using for-hire college students as plaintiffs in class action lawsuits.
Christ! YumEarth also claimed that Ferrell filed the case “after YumEarth refused to make a $25,000 payment to his law firm."
Ferrell did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Tuesday.
I'm pretty stoked to see how this one turns out. In any event, yes, I'm afraid the rumors are true: Many lollipops have sugar, and they're not all that "healthy" for you, whatever the hell that word even means.