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Starbucks must face class action lawsuit in the US over ingredients in its drinks – El Sol de México

A federal judge on Monday ordered Starbucks (SBUX.O) to face a lawsuit alleging that several of its Refresher fruit drinks lacked a key ingredient: fruit.

U.S. District Judge John Cronan in Manhattan denied Starbucks’ request to dismiss nine of the 11 claims in the proposed class action, saying that “a significant portion of reasonable consumers” would expect its drinks to contain fruits mentioned in their names.

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Consumers would like Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit, Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Pineapple Passionfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade, Strawberry Açai and Strawberry Açai Lemonade drinks to be advertised.

Plaintiffs Joan Kominis, of Astoria, New York, and Jason McAllister, of Fairfield, California, said the main ingredients were water, grape juice concentrate and sugar, and that Starbucks’ misleading names caused them to be overcharged. . They said this violated their states’ consumer protection laws.

In seeking a dismissal, Seattle-based Starbucks said the product names described the drinks’ flavors rather than their ingredients, and that its menu signs accurately advertised those flavors.

It also said that no reasonable consumer would have been confused and that its baristas could have “sufficiently dispelled” any confusion if consumers had questions.

But the judge said that unlike the term “vanilla,” the subject of many lawsuits, “nothing before the court indicates that ‘mango,’ ‘passion fruit,’ and ‘açaí’ are terms that are typically understood to represent a flavor without also representing that ingredient.”

Cronan also said the confusion could be understandable because other Starbucks products contain ingredients in their names; for example, Ice Matcha Tea Latte contains matcha and Honey Citrus Mint Tea contains honey and mint.

The judge dismissed a fraud claim, finding no evidence that Starbucks intended to defraud consumers, and an unjust enrichment claim.

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Starbucks and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The plaintiffs’ attorney did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The case is Kominis et al v Starbucks Corp, United States District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-06673.

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2023-09-18 19:05:27
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