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Krispy Kreme lawsuit filed over sticky issue

A woman in California filed a lawsuit against Krispy Kreme, the giant of doughnut chains, complaining that the company misled her into choosing its apple fritter as a supposedly healthier choice over its other deep-fried and delicious delicacies.

State laws are generally kinder to plaintiffs in cases like these in California than in other states. Businesses have a legitimate reason to fear lawsuits claiming false advertising, violations of various business codes and breaches of contract.

However, some lawsuits seem stickier than others. The woman's complaint boils down to the fact that she intentionally chose to consume the apple fritters on a regular basis since 2013 because a nutritional chart provided by the company stated that the delicacy has a sugar content of only 4 grams. A glazed doughnut, by comparison, has 10 grams.

The woman apparently had a revelation about her favorite treat, however, when a manager informed her the nutritional chart she had was wrong. The company's website had the correct information. There, the apple fritter is stated to contain 390 calories, and the sugar content is listed as a whopping 28 grams. The website further broke down the apple fritter's nutritional makeup, listing it as 47 percent pure fat.

The woman's lawsuit accuses the company of deliberately misleading people who are aiming to make better food choices. She initially requested personal compensation and class-action status for others similarly deceived.

Interestingly enough, this is the second case that Krispy Kreme has faced that involved consumers unhappy that their "healthy" doughnuts weren't so healthy after all.

In November, a man claimed that he'd been fooled into buying, among other products, the company's chocolate-iced raspberry-filled doughnuts and maple-iced glazed doughnuts by information that misled him into believing those were part of a healthy diet.

Like the previous case, the newest one has been withdrawn. However, the plaintiffs are free to bring the suits again at a later date. There's no word on why they chose to withdraw their suits.

While there's an admittedly comic element to these cases, it's important not to glaze over the seriousness of how a claim like that can affect your business. While a large firm can afford to defend itself, small companies need to make sure they avoid business litigation as much as possible. Hiring a business attorney to advise you as your business grows is often a wise investment.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Krispy Kreme faces suit over sugar, calories listed for apple fritter," Richard Craver, Oct. 17, 2017

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