Trouble in Min(d/e)

supremecourtA longtime fan of blues music, Trouble in Mind is one of my particular favorites.  I don’t know how many different versions of the tune I have around the house – by how many different artists from Nina Simone to Big Bill Broonzy, from Janis Joplin to Lightnin’ Hopkins (my personal all-time favorite version is by Mr. Hopkins).  But I do know that I have enough versions to cause my children to tire of hearing it.

But today’s post isn’t so much about what may be the greatest blues tune of all time so much as it is about something that can cause the blues: litigation.  And in this case yesterday’s appearance of the tune as an earworm came from litigation related to a mine.

Yes, the good folks at Widow Jane are in the news again.  Two days ago, Widow Jane was named a defendant in a lawsuit in United States District Court in the Southern District of  New York.  A copy of the complaint is here.  The lawsuit – which is seeking certification as a class action – alleges deceptive acts and practices under New York law, false advertising, breach of warranty, fraud and unjust enrichment – all as a result of the Company’s claims that it is made with “Pure Limestone Mineral Water from the Widow Jane Mine.”  As argued by the plaintiff, the only water that is used which might come from the Widow Jane Mine is water that is added after distillation – which plaintiff alleges is not what consumers expect or understand in the context of the pseudo-sacred union of bourbon and limestone.  In other words, to distill (pardon the use of the word) Plaintiff’s argument down – if the water from the Widow Jane Mine wasn’t in the still it doesn’t count.

Trouble in Min(d/e) indeed.  If history is any guide, the folks at Widow Jane will not just – as the song suggests – “lay [their] head on the lonesome railroad line and let the 2:19 train ease [their] troubled mind.”  This isn’t their first taste of controversy – even about this specific issue.  I will follow the situation in the Widow Jane case and report back as developments arise.

On a related – but equally sour – note, the lawsuit alleging that Bombay Sapphire is trying to poison us all is continuing.  This past week the case was removed from Florida state court and brought into federal court.  From the standpoint of the defendants this is likely a good move, as the transition from state to federal adjudication typically means you get a more sophisticated bench.


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