Starbucks’ attempt to dismiss lawsuit against Refresher drinks is denied

Starbucks did not succeed in a bid to end a consumer lawsuit related to its Refresher drinks. 

A U.S. district court judge ruled nine causes of action will remain active and dropped two others that the coffeehouse chain has been facing, according to a legal filing published online by Court Listener. 

Starbucks had previously filed a motion asking the court to dismiss all of them.

The judge’s decision came over a year after the plaintiff first sued Starbucks and over 11 months after the complaint was amended, according to Court Listener. 

The lawsuit took issue with the marketing and naming of six types of Starbucks Refresher drinks, claiming the company engaged in “false and deceptive practices.”

The Refresher drinks it named included Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade, Mango Dragonfruit, Strawberry Acai Lemonade, Strawberry Acai, Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade and Pineapple Passionfruit, according to the amended complaint. 

A U.S. district court judge ruled nine causes of action will remain active
A U.S. district court judge ruled nine causes of action will remain active.
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“Starbucks has marketed the Products with the names of specific fruits, representing to its customers that the Products, which are supposed to be fruit-based beverages, contain those advertised fruits,” the plaintiffs argued, alleging the respective drinks do not contain mango, passionfruit or acai.

“The allegations in the complaint are inaccurate and without merit,” a Starbucks spokesperson told FOX Business. “We look forward to defending ourselves against these claims.”

While ruling on the dismissal request, the judge suggested the names and marketing for the drinks could potentially lead a “significant portion” of consumers to “be misled.”

Allegations of unjust enrichment and common law fraud, meanwhile, will not go forward, according to the order.

For the common law fraud claim, the judge gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend it within 30 days.

Starbucks has argued the Refreshers had names that “accurately describe the flavors as opposed to the ingredients” and that “any potential consumer confusion would be dispelled by information available from Starbucks’s baristas,” the judge said in his order.

The plaintiffs had asked the court to certify the case as a class-action suit and award damages, among other measures. 

Starbucks has offered Refreshers as a cold drink option at its locations for over a decade. It operates over 37,200 stores worldwide, according to the company.

The company’s stock dropped about 1.5% Tuesday and has declined 5.5% since the start of the year.

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