Ghirardelli Sued Over Missing Chocolates

By Bruce Kaufman

Joseph Brungard grew embittered after repeatedly digging into 40-count bags of Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. chocolates only to learn each box fell one item short. Ditto with 10- and 17-count bags, prompting complaints and then a suit in the Northern District of California ( Brungard v. Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. , N.D. Cal., No. 4:17-cv-05873, complaint filed 10/12/17 ).In his Oct. 12 suit against the manufacturer, Brungard seeks to represent a nationwide class of consumers with sweet tooths and a penchant for exactitude in product labeling.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Craig Nicholas, a partner at Nicholas & Tomasevic in San Diego, told Bloomberg BNA that the case is “fairly straightforward.” Ghirardelli represents that the bags contain a certain number of individually wrapped and counted chocolates, but consumers get shorted if they actually count them, he said.

“Forrest Gump was right, you never know what you are going to get when you open a bag of Ghirardelli chocolates,” he said in borrowing a memorable line from Hollywood.

The suit alleges Ghirardelli committed fraud, engaged in unfair business practices, and violated state consumer fraud and false advertising laws.

Brungard said prior to his suit, Ghirardelli responded to his complaints by saying the packages were sold by weight.

Ghirardelli did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Bloomberg BNA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Kaufman in Washington at bkaufman@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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