I Want Candy…Or at Least a Trial by Jury

I Want Candy...Or At Least a Trial by Jury.

4466355 / Pixabay

Earlier this year, California resident Jessica Gomez filed a class-action lawsuit against Jelly Belly, the “original gourmet jelly bean.”[1] Gomez alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and products liability when Jelly Belly marketed its Sport Beans as athletic performance boosters.[2] The Sport Beans are advertised as being “scientifically formulated to boost your sports performance” by containing “vitamins, electrolytes, and carbohydrates.”[3]

Know What I Mean, Jelly Bean?

At the heart of the jelly bean controversy is whether or not Gomez should have known that the Sport Beans also contained sugar. Gomez claims that Jelly Belly tricked her into believing that the “evaporated cane juice”  in the Sport Beans meant juice rather than sugar.[4]  In its 2016 “Guidance for Industry,” the FDA advised but did not mandate that food companies like Jelly Belly use the term “sugar” instead of “evaporated cane juice.”[5]  Consequently, Gomez argues that Jelly Belly falsely advertised its Sport Beans as a healthy product for athletes.[6] In its motion, Jelly Belly responded that Gomez’s suit is “nonsense” and that “no reasonable consumer could have been deceived by Sport[] Bean’s labeling.”[7] Jelly Belly notes that the Sport Beans label lists the contested “evaporated cane juice” as well as the 17 grams of sugar per serving.[8]

A Sweet Ending?

On February 22, 2017, Jelly Belly removed Gomez’s case to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.[9] Currently,  Gomez stands by her claims and seeks a trial by jury, restitution, an injunction, and other forms of relief.[10]

For information on California civil procedure, see O’Connor’s California Practice * Civil Pretrial 2017.

[1] Jelly Belly.

[2] Mike Torres, Jelly Belly Eater Files Lawsuit Over Nutrition Claims, LegalNewsline, Apr. 12, 2017.

[3] Jelly Belly, Sport Beans Jelly Beans.

[4] Amy Graff, Woman Sues Jelly Belly, Claiming She Didn’t Know the Beans Contained Sugar, SFGate, May 25, 2017.  

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Torres, Jelly Belly Eater Files Lawsuit Over Nutrition Claims.

[10] Id.