How Starbucks Is Fighting Back Against Shorted Latte Drinkers

A couple of months ago, we wrote about some pissed off latte lovers who sued Starbucks, claiming that the company was underfilling lattes.

Now, in order to get themselves out of hot water, Starbucks Corporation has filed, “a motion to transfer,” with the U.S. Judicial Panel Of Multidistrict Litigation, to have the cases heard in the company’s home state of Washington.

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In total, there are three different cases, with an additional case pending, involving customers accusing Starbucks of, “deceptive marketing practices, by misrepresenting the quality of made-to-order beverages in its cafes.

Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that Starbucks knowingly, “follows standardized recipes that result in the uniform under fillings of beverages,” according to a memo submitted by Starbucks Corporation filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation May 26.

Due to circumstances involving multiple states, California, Illinois and New York, and the similarity of accusations, Starbucks Corporation is requesting the cases be transferred to a Seattle, Wash. court — where the corporation is headquartered — which will help “… eliminate duplicative discovery,” and, “prevent inconsistent rulings,” according to the memo.

The overlaying consistency within each case, remains that customers accuse the coffee giant of using inadequate cup sizes that do not allow for the amount of coffee or other beverage as advertised.

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The cases in question

Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles v. Starbucks 

The two plantiffs Strumlauf and Robles, from Northern California, filed a lawsuit on March 16, 2016. They claim that the Starbucks sizes, 12 fl. oz. “Tall”, 16 fl.oz. “Grande” and 20 fl. oz. “Venti” falsely advertise how much liquid can be contained in the cup, and also allege that baristas have, “no discretion in determining how much of a given ingredient is used in a latte,” according to the memo. Starbucks has requested to dismiss the case, but a hearing is scheduled for June 1.

Stacy Pincus v. Starbucks 

Pincus, a resident of Illinois, filed legal action on April 27, 2016, over the claim that, “ALL COLD DRINKS ARE UNDER FILLED.”

The Pincus memo alleges all, “iced coffee, iced tea and blended specialty drinks,” as well as its, “shaken iced teas and shaken iced lemonades, Refreshers™ and Fizzio™ handcrafted sodas” are underfilled,” — and have been since 2006, according to documents.

Currently, Pincus case will be heard on June 21, 2016.

Brittany Crittenden v. Starbucks

Crittenden, a resident of New York, filed legal action against Starbucks on May 10, 2016, claiming that the company falsely advertises the exact amount of liquid each latte, mocha and espresso drinks contain. Crittenden is suing for an array of reasons, including, “negligent misrepresentation,” according to court documents.

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Now, as Starbucks prepares to defend itself against these steaming hot allegations, one thing is for sure, lawyers need to wake up and smell the coffee.


Blogger Fined $7K + Jail Time Over Restaurant Review

From a report originating earlier today from the Taipei Times, the Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court has sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 dys in detention, along with two years probation and the equivalent of $7,000 in fines. Liu, a blogger who writes about topics including food, health, interior design and general lifestyle topics, also noted that the restaurant was unsanitary due to the presence of cockroaches and the parking lot congestion left much to be desired.

The district court found the blogger’s criticisms “exceeded reasonable bounds,” — particularly the quips about the restaurant’s food being too salty, considering “she only had one dish on her single visit.”

Surprisingly, the remarks about the cockroaches were deemed to be less inappropriate, and were not interpreted as any form of intentional slander.

The ruling was final, and the blogger has apparently apologized to the restaurant for the incident. The NT$200,000 (USD $7,000) was a payment to the owner for supposed loss of revenues as a result of her blog post.

Fining a critic? I’m sure many an artist would love to exercise that action, but what do the ramifications of such a ruling have on the blogosphere as a whole? Review-aggregate sites such as Chowhound and Yelp give a platform for aspiring critics. Imagine you being punished for your opinion or possible slander. [Via OC Register]

In this case, did the punishment fit the “crime”?

Speak on it.



Kellog’s Pays Big Settlement Over False Claims on Cereal Boxes

Not even the 100+ year old Kellogg’s company can get away with false advertising. The FTC recently brought upon a class-action settlement under the umbrella of laws of advertising that ban misleading and inaccurate marketing claims. According to a summary by SlashFood, Kellogg’s is paying up on several different fronts due to several different cereal branding that has been deemed misleading.

In November of 2010 Kellogg’s agreed to a $10.5 million settlement with their Mini-Wheats boxes where class members received $2.75 million and $5.5 million going to charities. As a response to the Rice Krispies Immunity-branded Boxes, the customer can receive anywhere between $5 and $15 for any box that was purchased while they were on the shelf from June 1, 2009 to March 1, 2010. This amount going back to customers totals $2.5 million with another sum of $2.5 million worth of Kellog’s products being distributed to charity.