(USA TODAY) - A federal class-action lawsuit claiming Junior Mints puts too much air and not enough candy in their little boxes has just gotten a little bit bigger.
Two more consumers have joined the lawsuit against Tootsie Roll Industries, which makes Junior Mints, claiming in a new, amended complaint filed in Manhattan federal court this week that they felt "injured" by being short-changed of candy.
"The product is packaged in a non-transparent cardboard box" in a way that makes it so consumers "cannot see the excessive air in the container," the complaint said. "The size of the products’ boxes in comparison to the volume of the candy" makes it appear that people are "buying more than what is actually being sold."
The claims are now part of the lawsuit filed in October by Biola Daniel of New York City, who said that 40% of the $1.49 box of Junior Mints she purchased at a Duane Reade pharmacy on 125th Street was filled with air, or "slack fill."
In the amended complaint, Abel Duran, from the Queens borough of New York, said the 4.13-ounce box of candy he purchased for $4.49 at a Garden City movie theater on Dec. 28 was only 77% filled. Trekeela Perkins of MIssissippi had a similar gripe with the $1.29 box she bought at a Walmart in Jackson County.
In court papers filed in response to the lawsuit, lawyers for Tootsie Roll Industries counter that the "slack fill" in the candy boxes actually serves a function by keeping the candy protected and thus actually adds to the value of the candy.
The company also said that Daniel and the other plaintiffs have failed to prove how they are entitled to damages and that details about the amount of candy are clearly listed on the boxes.
The candymaker believes "no reasonable consumer could be deceived by the product packaging because it accurately discloses the candy’s net weight, serving size, and the number of pieces in the box," lawyers for the company wrote.
They called the lawsuit "a copy-cat case of similar cases in other jurisdictions," citing civil claims against other products ranging from egg rolls to deodorants, and said the complaint "should be dismissed in its entirety."
But Daniel and the other plaintiffs claim they were deceived by Tootsie Roll. They said the company even markets packages with different quantities of candy in the same size boxes, labeling them "XL," to suggest extra large.
"This demonstrates that Defendant does not fill boxes based on those boxes’ capacity," the lawsuit says.
Even a 10.5 ounce "Big Box Size" container of Junior Mints is 39 percent air, according to the complaint.