Suits complaining that Starbucks drinks didn’t have enough liquid were singled out as the year’s biggest offenders by a U.S. Chamber of Commerce unit devoted to documenting what it calls a ‘litigation explosion.’
Two lawsuits claiming that Starbucks doesn’t provide enough actual beverage in its drinks top an annual list of the year’s most ridiculous lawsuits, according to an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The lawsuits — one accusing the Seattle-based coffee chain of putting too much ice in their iced drinks, and the other claiming Starbucks deliberately underfills its latte cups — were deemed most absurd by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform. The institute represents the business community and fights against what it calls “the country’s litigation explosion.”
Its Top 10 rankings, chosen from the most popular stories on its website highlighting various lawsuits, were determined by a national survey of 5,000 consumers.
In the first Starbucks case, filed in Chicago, the coffee giant was accused of misleading customers by filling its iced beverage cups with ice rather than enough liquid to reach the advertised volume. The lawsuit alleged that an iced beverage advertised at 24 ounces contains about 14 ounces of fluid, and that ice isn’t a fluid or beverage.
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The judge sided with Starbucks in dismissing the case, saying: “As Starbucks points out, ‘no reasonable consumer ordering an iced tea expects to receive a cup of tea with a side of ice.’ ”
Further, he said, “it is not just the drinks’ names that convey to the consumer that ice will be included, but the website menu directly states that the drinks are served ‘over ice’ and include ice as an ingredient.”
The second lawsuit highlighted by the U.S. Chamber was filed by two latte drinkers in California who said that the company’s standardized latte recipe results in cups that are “25 percent underfilled.”
That case is still pending.
Other lawsuits that made the Chamber’s most ridiculous list include one filed by a California woman who said a lip balm’s twist-up mechanism didn’t allow her to use the balm at the bottom of the tube; and another filed by a Nebraska man who claimed that the University of Nebraska’s traditional balloon releases during its Cornhusker football games are a threat to children and wildlife.
Both those cases were dismissed.