No company is safe from the wave of "slack fill" lawsuits, not even the delicious, heart-healthy Junior Mint.
Earlier this week, a Manhattan woman filed a federal class action lawsuit against Tootsie Roll Industries, alleging that the company is deceptively packaging its 3.5 ounce box of Junior Mints, to the grave annoyance of minty-chocolate lovers everywhere.
"When consumers purchase a package of Defendants’ Product, they are getting less candy than they bargained for," the suit alleges. "They are effectively tricked into paying for air, because the Product boxes contain large amounts of non-functional slack-fill."
According to plaintiff Biola Daniel, a box of Junior Mints she purchased last month at Duane Read on 125th Street "contained approximately 40 percent non-functional slack-fill." That's far more than equivalent sweets like Milk Duds, which contain just 23 percent slack fill, and Good n Plenty, which boasts a mere 12 percent slack fill. To illustrate this point, an attorney with the Lee Litigation group put rulers in candy boxes.
As it happens, Lee Litigation has managed to turn American food frustrations into something of a cottage industry. New York Law Journal notes the firm has filed at least 14 slack fill class actions in recent years, including one accusing Pret A Manger of a sneaky sandwich wrap ripoff.
That suit claimed the company was using a cardboard casing to "portray the Greek Goddess Turkey Wrap package as having more contents that it actually does."
In 2016, a Southern District Court also tossed out a similar suit filed by Lee Litigation, which accused Sour Patch Watermelon Candy of holding 44 percent more air than it required, because the judge said the plaintiffs failed to show injury. (Aside the naturally-occurring damage Sour Patch Watermelon Candy does to your taste buds.)