Imagine biting into a mozzarella stick, and there is no mozzarella present. That is what a lawsuit against TGI Fridays is now claiming.
Chicago Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. ruled that a lawsuit against Inventure Foods can proceed and possibly attract other plaintiffs in a class action proceeding. The initial plaintiff, Amy Joseph, claims the TGI Friday’s Mozzarella Snack Sticks, manufactured by Inventure, are misleading because the sticks are actually stuffed with cheddar cheese, not mozzarella, as the front of the box claims. Joseph says she only learned the truth by checking the ingredient list on the back. She believes that if customers knew the truth, they wouldn’t pay as much for the sticks, which currently go for roughly $6.44 a box.
While Joseph’s suit also went after TGIF for their role in the product and packaging design, Judge Dow Jr. ruled that the restaurant chain is only the “licensor of the mark.”
In response to the suit, Inventure fired back, arguing that no “reasonable” customers would expect the snack to actually have mozzarella, considering that it may not last as long. The company also questioned Joseph’s intentions, pointing out that she’s filed at least eight class action lawsuits in the last ten years against food companies for their alleged indiscretions. Despite their concerns, Judge Dow Jr. denied their request to dismiss the case, allowing possible monetary damages to be paid out to Joseph.
As of now, the case can move forward but will not involve TGI Fridays. Attorneys representing Inventure were instructed to hold a “preliminary settlement discussion” on December 5th.
Joseph’s lead attorney, Thomas Zimmerman Jr., said they are “pleased” with the ruling and look forward to proceeding with a resolution.