Each year, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, lauded as “the country’s most influential and successful advocate for civil justice reform in the U.S. and abroad”, publishes its Top 10 most ridiculous lawsuits for the year. The Institute for Legal Reform’s Chief Operating Officer Harold Kim states, “A recent study found that the U.S. spends $429 billion on civil lawsuits—or more than $3,000 per household. That’s no laughing matter.”
Topping this year’s list is a lawsuit over lip balm packaging. A Belleville, Illinois woman sued Blistex for “deceiving customers about their lip balm,” alleging their packaging prevents customers from squeezing out all lip balm. The gold standard, according to the plaintiff, is Chapstick’s lipstick like packaging.
In a motion to dismiss, Blistex argued that the mere allegation that customers might “have to work extra hard to obtain the last drops of the product does not render the tube deceptive … lest toothpaste tubes everywhere be deemed deceptive.”
U.S. District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo said Alana Hillen’s allegations that the applicator’s “deceptively wasteful packaging caused consumers to purchase more of the lip balm than they would otherwise have to were sufficient to give her standing to sue — barely.” “Where plaintiff’s claims fall short, however, is in their substance,” Judge Bucklo wrote in her opinion dismissing the case.
The case is Alana Hillen v. Blistex Inc., case number 1:17-cv-02074, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Click here to view the remaining nine of 2019’s top ten.