GRAND RAPIDS – An Okemos woman has filed a $5 million federal lawsuit because Starbucks’ special coffee portions are no longer available for her single-serving coffee brewing system.
Paula Montgomery, who is seeking class-action status for her lawsuit, bought a Kraft Foods “Tassimo” system designed to be used with Starbucks’ single-portion brewing cups. But the companies ended their relationship.
Kraft Foods and Starbucks knew their association was “highly uncertain” or “had been terminated” when Montgomery bought her coffee maker with Starbucks logos displayed on packaging, the lawsuit said.
The companies conducted joint marketing of the brewing system that “afforded use of Starbucks’ single-portion brewing cups,” attorneys Peter Macuga II and Tim McCarthy wrote in the lawsuit, filed Monday.
“They continued to display and sell to consumers Tassimo systems packaged in cartons bearing defendant Starbucks’ familiar logo and representing that defendant Starbucks’ portion cups were available and would remain available for use or exclusive use with the Tassimo system,” the lawsuit said.
It led Montgomery to buy the Kraft system rather than a “k-cup” system by competitor, Keurig, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said “that while defendants were engaging in said conduct which they naturally understood would result in the discontinuation of Tassimo-compatible Starbucks portion cups, defendant Starbucks was contemporaneously engaging in contentious negotiations with defendant Kraft, as well as negotiations intended to result in offerings by Starbucks of portioned brewing cups for use with Keurig systems, the Tassimo’s system direct competitor in the marketplace, all at the expense of consumers who were still purchasing the Tassimo system under the belief that Starbucks brewing cups would be – and for a reasonable time remain available.”
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