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Judge Dismisses Aunt Jemima Heirs' $3 Billion Lawsuit Against PepsiCo

The heirs failed to prove that they were related to the lady who posed as Aunt Jemima.


A judge shot down a $3 billion lawsuit filed by two men who claim to be the heirs to the "Aunt Jemima" fortune. In August, D.W. Hunter and Larnell Evans Jr. filed claims against Quaker Oats, its parent company PepsiCo — as well as Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire brands — for failing to pay royalties for the use of Anna Short Harrington's likeness. (Harrington is the woman whose beaming face acts as the stand-in for the famed pancake mix brand.) They further alleged that the companies "conspired to deny that Harrington had been an employee of Quaker Oats" and that they trademarked Harrington's likeness without compensating her in 1937. The suit further alleged that Quaker stole "64 original formulas and 22 menus from Harrington." So, the men decided to sue for $2 billion in cash and $1 billion in equity stocks.

The Wrap writes that U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang dismissed their claims Wednesday for lack of proof. The men tried to establish that they are indeed Harrington's heirs, but failed royally. Chang notes, "The only information about Plaintiffs' connection to Harrington provided by the amended complaint is an account of how Hunter received a photograph (now lost) of Harrington from his grandmother and of Plaintiffs' attempt to locate Harrington's grave in Syracuse, New York." Better luck next time.