Inmate Sues Taco Bell for Stealing Doritos Locos Tacos Idea

By Kelly Cheung on May 17, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A federal prison inmate is suing Taco Bell over its new menu item, the Doritos Locos Tacos.

But Gary Cole, who's serving a 25-year sentence at a super-max prison in Florence, Colorado, isn't looking to get his hands on some of these ingenious tacos with hard shells made from Nacho Cheese Doritos Chips.

Instead, Cole claims in a federal lawsuit that he is the inventor of the Doritos taco shells, and that someone has stolen his now hugely successful idea, the Dallas Observer reports.

Could it be that prison inmates have way too much time on their hands and too little access to lawyers to tell them to stop wasting their time? Or is the inmate's suit against Taco Bell really not as loco as it seems?

Thinking Outside the Bun

Gary Cole had plenty of time indeed to hand-write his 35-page complaint without help from a lawyer. But first, he wrote to the FBI demanding that they investigate this alleged taco-idea thievery.

He also wrote to the IRS, demanding information on the unnamed thief who was paid by a check "made out to a person for a large amount by Taco Bell, Frito Lay, and Pepsi Co. Inc."

Finally, Cole submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Taco Bell, seeking documents related to the invention of the Doritos Locos Tacos. He never heard back. (Probably because FOIA requests only work to get information from government agencies, not from private companies.)

Representing Himself

Cole may have had no option but to "think outside the bun" in his attempts to resolve his beef with Taco Bell. However, no one seemed to care to respond to him and he was left with his last resort: to sue in federal court -- without a lawyer. (He actually tried to get legal representation, but was turned down, the Observer notes.)

Without seeing Cole's actual lawsuit -- the Observer's report doesn't mention what cause(s) of action Cole is pursuing -- it's not clear how his case will play out in court. But if a judge deems the lawsuit frivolous, it will get tossed out.

Even if the case proceeds, Cole should seriously think it over before diving into the difficult and potentially expensive task of suing Taco Bell on his own. He has a huge task ahead of him to prove he, not Taco Bell, owns the idea behind those tasty tacos.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard