In what might have been a class-action case, a Michigan woman accepted $250 as a settlement in a case against Starbucks and Kraft Foods. The legal fees the woman's lawyer seeks amount to $175,000, on the other hand.
Pam Montgomery of Okemos, Michigan told U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist that she purchased a Tassimo brewer by Kraft Foods for the sole purpose of brewing Starbucks supplied coffee discs so that she could enjoy home-brewed Starbucks' coffee whenever she wanted. Her lawyer called the home-brewed coffee as "gold."
Montgomery was very disappointed when Starbucks chose to stop making the coffee discs for her specific single-serve machine and took Starbucks and Kraft to court.
That was two years ago, according to the Lansing State Journal. The judge declined to make the lawsuit against Starbucks and Kraft into a class-action case. Montgomery accused Kraft and Starbucks of tricking her and other consumers by offering Starbucks' coffee discs and then discontinuing them after people bought the machine, according to CBS.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that Montgomery recently settled her lawsuit for $250 after more than two years of litigation against Kraft and Starbucks in federal court.
Montgomery told the court that she only purchased the machine in order to drink Starbucks at home, and that other coffee discs weren't desirable. She says that not long after she bought the $100 machine, Starbucks teamed up with Keurig brewing systems, Tassimo's competitor, according to MLIVE. Montgomery said that Starbucks had been aware of its plans to switch partnerships for some time but still marketed the Tassimo machines as the exclusive machines to brew Starbucks at home.
"We determined after investigating the case that there was a significant period of time during which the defendants Kraft and Starbucks knew there was not going to be a continuous offering of the little (Starbucks) disk, but they continued to sell the coffee makers," Mongomery's attorney Timothy McCarthy Jr. told MLIVE.
Ed Perdue, an attorney for Starbucks, said that Starbucks never once promised to always produce the coffee disks for the Tassimo.
"Business arrangements end, and products are discontinued all the time," the attorney said in a court filing. U.S. District Judge Quist declined to allow the lawsuit to become a class-action case."In May, a Michigan federal judge denied class certification in this case. After defeating her class certification motion, Kraft and Starbucks agreed to settle with the sole plaintiff for a modest amount," Kraft announced. Then, there are the legal fees that Kraft and Starbucks will have to pay.
"If you don't have a consumer protection law … there would never be a remedy for consumers," McCarthy said explaining his legal fees. "If lawyers never have a chance of getting paid, there would never be a claim filed."
The judge will determine how much McCarthy will be able to collect in legal fees as part of the lawsuit settlement from Kraft and Starbucks.