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July 03, 2020 • 11:23 AM

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Home Jester's Courtroom They Won't Drink to That
They Won't Drink to That Print
Wednesday, October 16 2019

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Bacardi, the maker of Bombay Sapphire gin, alleging the manufacturer produces its popular gin using a common spice that was banned under a 150-year-old Florida law. 

The lawsuit also names as a defendant Florida-based grocery chain Winn-Dixie that sells Bombay Sapphire.

The Florida law, § 562.455, declares that "[w]hoever adulterates, for the purpose of sale, any liquor, used or intended for drink, with… grains of paradise… or any other substance which is poisonous or injurious to health, and whoever knowingly sells any liquor so adulterated, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree." The law was adopted after the Civil War during a time when people believed the spice was a poisonous drug.

But, according to news reports, "grains of paradise," a West African ginger spice that is close to cardamom, an ingredient in the gin, is allegedly not harmful. It is worth noting as well that the federal government permits the addition of grains of paradise to food (including alcoholic beverages).

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Roniel Rodriguez, who represents plaintiff Uri Marrache, fails to allege that Bacardi or Winn-Dixie caused Marrache (or any other potential class member) any specific physical harms or side effects. Indeed, it is reported that Rodriguez "acknowledges there are no studies that he's found that show a negative health effect of grains of paradise." The alleged damage described in the lawsuit resides instead entirely in the "individual purchase price" paid by consumers — "generally less than $40."

Source: Reason.com

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