Some class action lawsuits can seem sensible on first glance—until a federal judge puts things into perspective. For instance, this past Friday, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled that when you order an iced drink from Starbucks, you should probably expect to find ice in there. That was his ruling as he threw out a lawsuit alleging that the coffee giant was ripping off customers by adding ice to fill up its iced beverages. If you’ve ever watched a Starbucks barista make an iced coffee, you can understand where the reasoning behind the original Starbucks lawsuit, which was filed back in May, stems from. The employee measures in a bit of cold coffee and then scoops in what feels like a lot of ice. Seeing the process go down can be a bit frustrating. It’s even launched an entire subcategory of thrifty people: the “no ice, please” crowd.
But according to Judge Anderson, everyone understands this idea, even children—and that was part of his problem with the Starbucks class action lawsuit’s claim that company was somehow trying to defraud customers by adding ice to its iced drinks.
“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,” the judge said in his dismissal of the lawsuit, according to Law360. Thankfully, he stopped short of reminding people that ice is one of the two words in the phrase “iced drink”—though you get the feeling he wanted to.
Adding insult to injury, Judge Anderson also pointed out how Starbucks uses literally transparent cups for its iced drinks, clearly allowing customers to see what they are getting: beverage, ice and all. Additionally, though Starbucks does have different drink sizes, the company doesn’t expressly mention a specific amount of liquid. And with that, Anderson not only dismissed the suit, but also barred any amendments.
The decision should put issue to rest in California; however, a similar lawsuit is still pending in federal court in Illinois. It will be interesting to see if a judge in that district agrees that, yes, iced drinks probably will have ice in them.