A federal judge in Chicago has recently dismissed a class action lawsuit against Walmart Inc. The lawsuit, filed by Eugene DeMaso of La Salle, Illinois, claimed that Walmart was deceiving shoppers by selling Fudge Mint cookies under the Great Value label that lacked fudge and mint. According to DeMaso, the packaging for the cookies misled reasonable consumers, as the “fudge” contained no milkfat, and the “mint” contained no mint ingredients.
However, U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland disagreed with DeMaso’s argument. She stated that no previous cases have shown that consumers expect “fudge” to contain milkfat, and DeMaso himself had admitted that fudge could contain vegetable oils, like the cookies sold by Walmart did. Judge Rowland also agreed with Walmart that “mint” referred to a flavor rather than actual mint.
The judge compared the case to previous lawsuits where courts found that vanilla was not a required ingredient in products such as vanilla ice cream, and what mattered was that the products tasted like vanilla.
Despite the dismissal of the lawsuit, DeMaso’s lawyer, Spencer Sheehan, stated that he would review the decision and that his client had not yet decided whether to appeal. Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove expressed that the company was pleased with the court’s ruling and would continue to defend itself against these allegations.
In recent years, litigation against the food and beverage industry has increased, with Perkins Coie reporting that 325 proposed class actions were filed in 2021. DeMaso’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of consumers in 26 U.S. states, claimed that Walmart’s cookies, which sold for at least $1.89 for 10 ounces, would have sold for less if it were not for the alleged misleading representations.
The judge ruled in favor of Walmart, stating that the company did not mislead consumers by selling cookies that lacked fudge and mint. Though dismissed, the case highlights the increasing trend of lawsuits against the food and beverage industry and reminds companies to be cautious in their advertising and labeling practices.
Walmart wins lawsuit claiming its Fudge Mint cookies lack fudge and mint