*Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Last August, two men – Dannez W. Hunter and Larnell Evans, Jr. – who claimed to be the great-grandsons of Anna Short Harrington, who portrayed syrup and pancake figurehead Aunt Jemima filed suit against PepsiCo and the Quaker Oats Company, claiming that the defendants had failed to pay royalties to Harrington’s estate and stole Harrington’s pancake formula in an act of “industrial espionage.”
In a nutshell, the suit , which the pair pair had sought a total of $3 billion, with $1 billion of that in equity stocks, was thrown out.
On Wednesday in Chicago, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss, which contended that Hunter and Evans had failed to state a claim.
“Plaintiffs do not allege that they are authorized to act as executors or administrators of Harrington’s estate, or even that such an estate exists (or ever existed),” Chang wrote. “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.”
The lawsuit cited Screen Actors Guild residuals and standard policies in the entertainment industry regarding revenue statements, which neither Harrington nor her heirs ever received. It wasn’t until they uncovered in 2013 that Quaker Oats had trademarked Harrington’s likeness and picture in 1937 that the family determined that they were owed royalties. Harrington died in 1955.
But Judge Chang found that the statute of limitations for Hunter and Evans’ claims had long ago expired.