Menu

Food for Thought: Food Industry Decisions with Bite

Food for Thought: Starbucks Defeats Icy Class Action

Class Actions   |   Litigation and Trials   |   Mass Tort and Product Liability   |   March 27, 2018
Download   
Share Page

Forouzesh v. Starbucks Corp., 714 F. App’x 776 (9th Cir. 2018)

On March 12, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action against Starbucks. The lead plaintiff alleged that Starbucks’s method of preparing its iced beverages deceives its customers by misrepresenting the amount of liquid a customer receives when he or she orders an iced drink. The plaintiff brought claims of breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, fraud, and violations of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law.

The Ninth Circuit held that the plaintiff’s claims failed because a "reasonable consumer" would not think that "a 12-ounce ‘iced’ drink … contains 12 ounces of coffee or tea and no ice." Moreover, the plaintiff’s fraud claims failed because he did not show that consumers justifiably relied on Starbucks’s representation and "justifiable reliance" is a required element of fraud. Last, the claim for breach of express warranty failed because the plaintiff did not allege that Starbucks ever promised that its iced drinks contained a specific amount of liquid "as distinct from a total amount of liquid and ice."

This decision comes on the heels of another proposed class action that Starbucks defeated in January. There, a group of consumers alleged Starbucks was cheating its customers by underfilling select drinks such as lattes. The court held that because the plaintiffs conceded that milk foam was a component of these drinks, Starbucks was not underfilling the drinks.


©2019 Carlton Fields, P.A. Carlton Fields practices law in California through Carlton Fields, LLP. Carlton Fields publications should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information and educational purposes only, and should not be relied on as if it were advice about a particular fact situation. The distribution of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship with Carlton Fields. This publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication or proceeding without the prior written consent of the firm, to be given or withheld at our discretion. To request reprint permission for any of our publications, please use our Contact Us form via the link below. The views set forth herein are the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the firm. This site may contain hypertext links to information created and maintained by other entities. Carlton Fields does not control or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this outside information, nor is the inclusion of a link to be intended as an endorsement of those outside sites.

Subscribe to Publications

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.