To Be or to Not Be Sued

By: Lime Green Giraffe Webmaster, Cameryn P.  

Shoes that could help you burn calories (They really can't)

Victims of this false advertisement may not have burnt off the calories they desired, but they sure burned off a lot of debt.

In 2010, New Balance's retailed $100 shoes that they claimed were stylish toning shoes that looked like regular sneakers. They claimed that their shoes "activated" lower body muscles with soles that made it hard to stay balanced as if the wearer were running on sand. The brand also promised that they helped the wearer burn 8% more calories than regular sneakers. But that all went downhill as three women, Kimberly Carey, Victoria Molinarolo, and Shannon Dilbeck, sued the company in 2011 for false advertising. One attorney stated, "Wearing the Toning Shoes provides no additional activation to the gluteus, hamstring, or calf muscles, and does not burn any additional calories." They also stated, "Moreover, scientists are concerned that wearing the Toning Shoes may lead to injury, a fact which New Balance deceptively omits from its advertising." 

New Balance had to pay a $2.3 million settlement, pay the three women $5,000 each, and provide a full $100 refund for each pair of shoes purchased.

Now for another shoe scandal. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one of the doctors that Skechers used to advertise its Shape-ups shoes was paid by the company and married to a Skechers marketing executive. The company did not disclose this in advertisements. In the end, Skechers USA agreed to pay $40-million for unfounded claims that their shoes would help people lose weight and tone their muscles. 

Red Bull Gives You Wings, or Do They

Believe it or not, Red Bull does not give you wings unless you drink Red Bull with a side of wings. But many think otherwise. Red Bull was sued in 2014 for its notorious slogan, "Red Bull gives you wings." They proclaimed this mantra alongside marketing claims that the caffeinated drink could improve a person's concentration and reaction speed. One of the many consumers, Beganin Caraethers, stated that he had not developed "wings" or showed any signs of improved intellectual or physical abilities. Consequently, they had to reach a consensus on paying out a maximum of $23 million, including $10 for every US purchase of the drink since 2002.

Wheats that Make You Smarter?

Ready to ace that next math test? Take over Einstein's infamous title of one of the most brilliant people in the world? Have your daily dose of Frosted Mini-Wheats. But we do not want to be sued like them, so study next time.

Kellogg Frosted Mini-Wheats was sued for saying that their cereal enhanced children's attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. Journalist Michael Moss states, "Half of the children who ate bowls of Frosted Minis showed no improvement at all on the tests they were given to measure their ability to remember, think, and reason, as compared with their ability before eating the cereal. Only one in seven kids got a boost of 18 percent or more." Many parents were reluctant about the statistics presented in the advertisement. Fortunately, those who purchased between January 28, 2008, and October 1, 2009, were compensated with a $15 refund for this marketed cereal. 

$5 Footlong (or 11 inches long)

You get what you pay for, right? Well, not at Subway in 2013. 

After buying a Subway footlong sandwich, a teenager decided to put it to the test and measure its actual length. The sandwich turned out to be 11 inches. Subsequently, three years later, the company settled a class-action lawsuit with an agreement to make the loafs 12 inches. Additionally, the attorneys legislating this lawsuit received $520,000 in fees.

Ad Results in Injuries

Boo! Did that scare you enough to fall down the stairs? Maybe not, but to this individual, all it takes is a poster to scare the life out of her.

In 2014, a woman was on a staircase in Grand Central Terminal when she saw an ad for the premiere of the TV show "Dexter." The ad displayed a portrait of actor Michael C. Hall, who appears to have a sinister look with blood dripping down his face. As a result of viewing the tragic image, the woman fell down the stairs with injuries to her right foot and ankle. She made a futile attempt to sue Showtime Networks, CBS Outdoor American, the City of New York, and two transit authorities, but the case was dismissed.


Rath, J. (2017, February 27). 18 false advertising scandals that cost some brands millions. Business Insider. 

Hines, A. (2012, August 29). New Balance Pays Fat Settlement To People Its Shoes Did Not Slim. HuffPost. 

Godoy, M. (2013, May 30). No, Frosted Mini-Wheats Won't Make Your Kids Smarter. NPR.,improve%20kids'%20attentiveness%20and%20memory. 

Bonner, M. (n.d.). 7 All-Time Ridiculous Lawsuits. The Balance Small Business. 

Harrington, J., & Byrnes, H. (2020, February 3). A man sues himself? A docket of 25 of the weirdest, silliest and frivolous lawsuits. USA Today. 

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