Is “Frivolous Consumer Food Law” a specialized field an attorney can go into? An admittedly quick Google search didn’t turn up anything concrete, but with the number of food lawsuits we’ve had to cover in the last few weeks—everything from chip packaging to jelly bean ingredients—it certainly seems like a great field to get into.
The latest lawsuit to come across our (proverbial) desks? GrubStreet reports that Chufen Chen, a resident from Queens, NY, has filed a lawsuit against Dunkin’ Donuts over their Angus Steak & Egg breakfast sandwich. The suit, in non-leagalise, argues that the “Angus steak” filling the bagel sandwich is actually just an Angus beef patty, and that Dunkin' Donuts' advertising for the product implies that you're getting a better quality meat. The suit was filed on June 25, and alleges that the patties are nothing more than “a regular beef patty (from Angus cows, if that matters) mixed with lots of preservatives and fillers,” according to GrubStreet.
Chen’s real problem, however, isn't focused on what’s in the patty—but rather what Dunkin' Donuts' advertising apparently implies is in the sandwich. Pointing to commercials and marketing materials that are aimed specifically at “steak lovers,” Chen’s class action lawsuit seeks to rectify the alleged beef/steak caper for anyone who purchased one of the sandwiches (or wraps) believing they were getting real steak.
While the outcome remains to be seen, it’s likely she hopes it will turn out for her as well as did for Jan Polanik, the Massachusetts man who successfully sued 23 Dunkin’ Donuts locations for serving him, and other customers, a “margarine or butter substitute” instead of actual butter—even when he specifically requested it. The donut chain eventually settled with Polanik and his class action lawsuit, which saw him earn $500 for his role, along with three free (real, we assume?) buttered baked goods for the other customers in the lawsuit.
Now we’ll just have to see if Chen’s beef is worth a payday as well.
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