Home Uncategorized ‘Vanilla Vigilante’ Spencer Sheehan pursues Pop-Tarts, 7-Eleven snacks

‘Vanilla Vigilante’ Spencer Sheehan pursues Pop-Tarts, 7-Eleven snacks


‘Vanilla Vigilante’ Spencer Sheehan goes after Pop-Tarts, 7-Eleven snacks

Consumer crusader– or opportunistic attorney?

Over the last few years, Spencer Sheehan has actually submitted numerous suits against the food and drink market– like the absence of strawberries in Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts and the dearth of real vanilla in Chobani’s Oat Vanilla and Oat Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt.

The Great Neck, NY-based lawyer has gone after vanilla flavoring in foodstuff a lot of times that he has been called the state’s “Vanilla Vigilante.”

For the past 2 years, Sheehan, 42, has actually been associated with more suits against the food and beverage industry than any other lawyer in the state. That’s according to a new report from the American Tort Reform Association, a Washington, DC, nonprofit that seeks to decrease suit abuse.

Recently, the group named New York State as the country’s second-worst “judicial hellhole”– the top transgressor was California– and Sheehan was called out for his contributions.

” Infamous Long Island attorney Spencer Sheehan, also called the ‘Vanilla Vigilante,’ continues to prolifically submit claims concentrating on item flavoring,” the ATRA report said. “Sheehan filed half of the state’s customer class action suits in 2019 and practically two-thirds in 2020.”

There were 183 consumer class actions in New york city state in 2020, according to ATRA.

And 2021 guarantees to be “a record year for food litigation filings”– with more than 300 food-related cases filed to date across the country, according to Tommy Tobin, a lawyer at Perkins Coie, who teaches a workshop on food lawsuits at UCLA Law School.

In April Sheehan's law firm reached a $2.6 million settlement with Blue Diamond's vanilla-flavored milk and yogurt products.
< img loading=" lazy "src=" https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=231" alt =" In April Sheehan's law practice reached a$ 2.6 million settlement with Blue Diamond's vanilla-flavored milk and yogurt products.

” class=” wp-image-20484945″ width= “295” height= “446” srcset =” https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=590 590w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=443 442w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=295 295w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=148 147w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/almond-breeze-vanilla.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w” sizes =”( max-width: 295px) 100vw, 295px” > In April, Spencer Sheehan’s firm reached a$ 2.6 million settlement with Blue Diamond over its Almond Breeze vanilla-flavored products. “New york city courts have been the most popular forum for these cases, thanks in part to the a great deal of filings challenging the labeling of foodstuff identified with the word’ vanilla, ‘” Tobin informed The Post.” We have recognized more than 120 suits filed over the previous two years concerning vanilla … This is an amazing pattern and represented about a

quarter of overall food litigation filings in 2019 and 2020.” Dubbed” the king of New York’s consumer class actions” by the New York Civil Justice Institute previously this year, “Sheehan’s relentless cascade of claims has actually contributed to New York becoming the nation’s leading jurisdiction for food litigation and a total hot area for customer class actions,” stated the Albany-based nonprofit in a June report.

Sheehan began 2021 by filing a January class-action suit against 7-Eleven’s marketing of Yumions Crunchy Onion Snacks. According to court papers, the bag of snacks, which are formed like onion rings, features images of green onions however only includes onion powder.

” Given that each part of the onion– bulb, root, stem and skin– has unique flavor and scent compounds, onion powder necessarily is not able to supply the ‘oniony’ taste appreciated by consumers,” states the class action grievance filed in Manhattan’s Southern District court.

In April Sheehan’s law practice reached a settlement with Blue Diamond over a proposed federal class action about the company’s Almond Breeze vanilla-flavored milk and yogurt items.

While Sheehan may argue that he’s standing up for the little guy, he’s the one who normally gets paid. The $2.6 million settlement with Blue Diamond, for example, awards $1 per item with proof of purchase and 50 cents per item without to customers who bought the products between April 15, 2014, and Might 17, 2021. According to ATRA, Sheehan’s firm might get as much as $550,000 for its costs from the settlement.

In October, Sheehan targeted Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts in a $5 million class-action problem. The suit claims that the sweet toaster pastries’ Entire Grain Frosted Strawberry range contains no real strawberries. The main complainant, New Yorker Elizabeth Russett, declares that the business’s marketing of the Pop-Tart tricked customers because the pastry includes much greater quantities of pears and apples than it does strawberries.

Sheehan filed a New York State Supreme Court filing against Chobani, claiming its use of
< img loading=" lazy" width =" 1024 "height =" 682 "src=" https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/Chobani-Oat-Vanilla-Yogurt2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1024 "alt=" Sheehan submitted a New York State Supreme Court filing versus Chobani, claiming its use of" vanilla" is misinforming on some products." class=" wp-image-20488153" srcset=

” https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/Chobani-Oat-Vanilla-Yogurt2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1535 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/Chobani-Oat-Vanilla-Yogurt2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/Chobani-Oat-Vanilla-Yogurt2.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w “sizes=”( max-width: 1024px )100vw, 1024px” > Sheehan filed a New york city State Supreme Court filing versus Chobani, claiming its usage of” vanilla “is misinforming on some products.Chobani Sheehan, who has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and graduated from Fordham University Law School, according to his LinkedIn page, includes in-depth diagrams and even pictures in his court filings, dissecting the intricate chemical substances in flavoring of food.

In June, Sheehan’s New york city State Supreme Court filing against Chobani– over the vanilla flavoring in 2 of its yogurt items– deconstructed the history and production of the vanilla bean from an orchid in Madagascar to the chemical synthesis that produces a vanilla-like taste however is not actually the genuine thing.

His conclusion: the word “vanilla” is misguiding on the Chobani label for its oat-based vanilla and vanilla strawberry yogurts because they do not really include vanilla in its purest kind, according to court papers.

” Although the flavoring utilized to simulate the Item’s characterizing vanilla taste is
( 1) not from vanilla beans, (2) from artificial petrochemical sources and (3) made through synthetic procedures, Defendant pretends otherwise, conflating natural and synthetic flavoring and deceiving customers,” court documents say.

It’s not the very first time that Sheehan has actually targeted the yogurt maker. In 2015, he took legal action against Chobani in Manhattan federal court, implicating the business of deceptive customers about the amount of sugar in its reduced-sugar Greek yogurt.

Sheehan did not right away return The Post’s demand for remark, but told the newspaper earlier that ATRA’s report had little merit.

Sheehan targeted Kellog's Pop-Tarts in a $5 million class-action complaint saying that the pastries' Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry variety contains no actual strawberries.
< img loading =" lazy" width =" 1024" height =" 682" src="https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/strawberry-pop-tart.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1024" alt =" Sheehan targeted Kellog's Pop-Tarts in a $5 million class-action problem stating that the pastries' Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry range contains no actual strawberries.

” class =” wp-image-20485086 “srcset =” https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/strawberry-pop-tart.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=1535 1536w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/strawberry-pop-tart.jpg?quality=90&strip=all 1024w, https://nypost.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/12/strawberry-pop-tart.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=512 512w” sizes =” (max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” > Sheehan targeted Kellog’s Pop-Tarts in a $ 5 million class-action complaint saying that the pastries ‘Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry variety consists of no real strawberries.” If the suits I was filing were a sign of the’ hellhole’ they describe, surely courts would be approving them and penalizing me,” he stated. “But they’re not because there is fortunately no constraint on customers from attempting to keep companies truthful.”

However Sheehan’s luck may be going out.

” Numerous judicial viewpoints out of New York’s federal courts have actually dismissed cases asserted on this ‘vanilla-labeling’ theory,” stated Tobin. “Current judicial choices indicate that New York courts are growing increasingly impatient with this theory.”

In June, an US District Court Judge dismissed a proposed class action brought by Sheehan against Mars Wrigley in which plaintiffs alleged that the business had actually breached New york city’s consumer protection laws in the marketing of their vanilla-flavored ice cream sandwiches.

Judge Raymond Dearie ruled that the complainants had actually failed to show that “an affordable customer … would be deceived by the expression ‘vanilla ice cream'” because the case, thus numerous of the vanilla cases before it, did not allege that the “the ice cream bars do not taste like vanilla.”

Released at Wed, 15 Dec 2021 11:27:40 +0000


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