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The man who sued Starbucks over the amount of ice in its drinks

Starbucks iced drinks

Starbucks iced drinks led to a lawsuit in 2016

Most people enjoy a chilled beverage, but one man took exception to how his drink was chilled and decided to take on the coffee giant Starbucks in court.

Alexander Forouzesh launched a lawsuit against Starbucks in 2016, challenging the size of its iced drinks.

He claimed the firm tricked customers by using ice to fill its cups to the advertised number of ounces.


The company says tall sizes contain 12 ounces, a Grande has 16 ounces, and a Venti has 24 ounces.

He claimed Starbucks employees were instructed to make the drinks according to standard practices in which clear cups were filled up to a fill line below the stated total and then topped off with ice.

He said this made Starbucks guilty of breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Starbucks, unsurprisingly, used its muscle to try to get the case dismissed.

It argued its iced beverages met the expectations of “reasonable” customers.

The judge took the corporation’s side, saying Forouzesh’s interpretation of the Starbucks drinks menu was “strained” and “inconsistent with the understanding of a reasonable consumer.”

U.S District Judge Percy Anderson wrote: “As young children learn, they can increase the amount of beverage they receive if they order ‘no ice’.”

“If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they 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.”

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After Forouzesh appealed the decision, The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel said: “The statutory claims fail as a matter of law because no reasonable consumer would think (for example) that a 12-ounce ‘iced’ drink, such as iced coffee or iced tea, contains 12 ounces of coffee and no ice.

“The fraud claim fails for the same reason because (even assuming there was a representation) justifiable reliance is absent.

“The claim for breach of express warranty fails because the complaint contains no allegation that Defendant promised that the iced drinks in question would contain a specific amount of liquid, as distinct from a total amount of liquid and ice.”

“Agreeing that the district court permissibly concluded that the defects in Forouzesh’s theories of liability could not be cured and that any amendment would be futile, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal with prejudice.”

The case was dismissed.

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