On Friday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks. The
class alleged a violation of Illinois' Uniform Deceptive Trade
Practices Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive
Business Practices Act, among other claims. Specifically, the
class alleged that Starbucks is engaging in unfair acts and
practices by advertising the size of its cups on its menu, instead
of the amount of fluid a customer will receive when they select an
iced beverage. The heart of the class's claims is that if
Starbucks advertises an "iced" drink as containing 24
fluid ounces, the drink should have 24 ounces of fluid plus
The court noted that regarding
the "iced" part of the name of the cold drinks at
issue in this case, the drinks are served "over ice" or
"with ice" and the ingredients list includes ice on the
menus online. An example of the disclosures on Starbucks website is
To prove an injury, plaintiffs must
show that a reasonable consumer would be deceived by the
advertising messages made by Starbucks. The court concluded no
deception could occur because a reasonable consumer would notice
that the menus separately list the contents of the drinks and the
size of the containers the drinks are served in and that the fluid
ounces disclosed refers to the volume, as opposed to the drink
Advertisers are only responsible for all reasonable advertising
messages conveyed. Importantly, some of these messages may
include messages the advertiser did not intend to convey, but that
a reasonable consumer could take away.
This article is presented for informational purposes only
and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
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We're delighted to publish our Social Media Safety Guide for Companies, which highlights key considerations to keep in mind in using social media to promote your company's products and services and to engage with customers.
One likely result is that companies will get sued by its competitors. Such a lawsuit will cost money to defend, cause a distraction to the company, and has the potential to embarrass the company with consumers.
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed in part and affirmed in part a Northern District of California ruling concerning the "All Natural Fruit" labeling on Dole's packaged fruit products.
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