Burke Harvey has received class certification of 8 state consumer lawsuits involving the sale of single serve coffee cartridges. On November 3, 2015, a Federal District Judge in Illinois certified an 8 state consumer class action lawsuit against Treehouse Foods and Sturm Inc., alleging that the sale of their Grove Square Coffee deceived consumers who thought they were buying fresh ground coffee for their Keurig coffee machines. In fact, the Grove Square Coffee was 95% instant coffee and the single serve cartridge did not contain a filter. The latest ruling provides for additional discovery and a plan for class notice before the parties try the lawsuit on the issue of liability. Attached hereto is the Memorandum Opinion and Court’s Order.
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Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Lower Court’s Decision to Refuse Class Certification in Keurig Coffemakers
“This case is about coffee. Not just any coffee-it is about the individual coffee pods that are used in the popular Keurig coffeemakers. The Keurig system solved a problem with which coffee drinkers had struggled for years: how to make individual portions of fresh-brewed coffee in a tidy, flavorful, easy, and relatively inexpensive way. The defendants, Sturm Foods, Inc., and Treehouse Foods, Inc., wanted to enter the market for Keurig-compatible pods once patent protection expired, but they jumped the gun in a way that the plaintiffs, who hope to represent a class, believe was deceptive and in violation of the consumer protection laws of a number of states. The district court refused to certify the class, and then ruled against each of the named plaintiffs’ individual claims. We conclude that the court erred in its class certification decision; if its approach were correct, it would never be possible to certify a consumer class action because some individual proof is always needed. We also conclude that the court overlooked genuine issues of fact when it granted summary judgment against the individual plaintiffs. We therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings.”
Read the full opinion below:
On June 4, 2014, Peter Burke requested that the Seventh Circuit reverse a district court that refused to certify subclasses of consumers that purchased Grove Square Coffee for use in their Keurig machines. Mr. Burke contended that an objective standard of a reasonable consumer was the proper test to determine if Defendants’ packaging and marketing of their product was deceptive or misleading or likely to mislead or deceive a consumer. You can hear the full argument by clicking on the link. Once the written opinion of the Seventh Circuit is published it will be posted.
To listen to the argument, click below.