Judge tosses Junior Mints fraud lawsuit alleging deceptively large boxes


Junior Mints may be chocolate, peppermint and delicious, however allegations their packing containers are deceptively giant do not constitute shopper fraud, a Chicago federal decide dominated this week.

A lawsuit brought by an Illinois lady last yr towards Tootsie Roll Industries, the Chicago-based mostly makers of Junior Mints, was dismissed on the grounds that there have been no precise damages in buying a box that was extra air than sweet — so-referred to as slack fill packaging.

“That she anticipated to obtain something more than what she received, in and of itself, does not constitute precise damages,” U.S. District Decide John Lee stated within the order, issued Tuesday.

Paige Stemm, of downstate Belleville, filed the lawsuit in March 2018 after buying a field of Junior Mints at a Walgreen’s for $1. The lawsuit sought class-action standing for what it claimed was Tootsie Roll’s “deceptive, misleading and unlawful conduct” in packaging its Junior Mints, which take up solely barely greater than half of their acquainted cardboard box.

Whereas the Junior Mint box has the load on the front, the ruling this week did not preclude that the dimensions of the box “might mislead an inexpensive shopper.” But Stemm did not allege she would have paid much less if she knew the field contained a lot air.

Stemm has 15 days to file an amended grievance or the case might be terminated.

Benjamin Haskin, a Chicago lawyer representing Tootsie Roll, declined to touch upon the lawsuit Thursday. An lawyer representing Stemm did not reply to a request for comment.

The Junior Mints lawsuit is part of a rising development of instances introduced towards meals producers for allegedly misleading and pointless empty area in packaging. Ruled by federal regulation, slack fill is “the difference between the precise capacity of a container and the quantity of product contained therein.”

In August, a New York federal decide dismissed an identical slack fill lawsuit towards Tootsie Roll and Junior Mints, ruling that a “affordable” shopper would anticipate some empty area within the box.

Junior Mints have been a sweet staple since they have been launched in 1949. The model was acquired by Tootsie Roll in 1993, the identical yr it was immortalized within the “Seinfeld” episode “The Junior Mint,” by which one of the candies inadvertently falls from a hospital remark gallery into the open abdomen of a affected person on the operating desk.

“Who’s going to turn down a Junior Mint?” Kramer asks after the incident.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @RobertChannick





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