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Starbucks iced coffee lawsuit dismissed with chiding from judge

A barista holds an iced Starbucks drink with a “Race Together” sticker on it March 18, 2015, at a Starbucks store in Seattle. A lawsuit that accused Starbucks of misrepresenting the sizes of its cold drinks has been dismissed by a California judge. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
A barista holds an iced Starbucks drink with a “Race Together” sticker on it March 18, 2015, at a Starbucks store in Seattle. A lawsuit that accused Starbucks of misrepresenting the sizes of its cold drinks has been dismissed by a California judge. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
By Samantha Bomkamp Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – A lawsuit that accused Starbucks of misrepresenting the sizes of its cold drinks has been dismissed by a California judge, who issued a written tongue-lashing of the plaintiff’s claims.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of plaintiff Alexander Forouzesh in a California federal district court, argued that Starbucks misled customers about the size of its iced drinks because it lists their sizes as the total liquid volume of drink and ice, not just the beverage itself. A similar case is pending in a federal court in Chicago.

In dismissing the case in California last week, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said that a “reasonable consumer” would know that the stated ounces for an iced drink, well, contain ice.

“As young children learn, they can increase the amount of beverage they receive if they order ‘no ice,’ ” the judge said. “If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive, the court has no difficulty concluding that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into thinking that when they order an iced tea, that the drink they receive will include both ice and tea and that for a given size cup, some portion of the drink will be ice rather than whatever liquid beverage the consumer ordered.”

In a statement, Starbucks said it was “pleased with the court’s decision and the judge’s comments on the matter.”

The lawsuit in Chicago, filed in May, is still pending, but with a new plaintiff. Attorneys for Starbucks have until Thursday to file a motion to dismiss the case. The lead attorney representing the coffee giant in the case wasn’t immediately available to comment.

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