A federal court in Illinois has denied a request that it reconsider an earlier order denying certification of a multi-state class of single-serve coffee purchasers allegedly deceived into believing that the product was ground coffee and not instant; the court has also granted the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. Suchanek v. Sturm Foods, Inc., No. 11-565 (S.D. Ill., decided November 20, 2013). Information about the court’s previous ruling appears in Issue 496 of this Update.

According to the court, “[t]he problem with the proposed class here is that showing reliance or causation—as required to establish liability requires an investigation of each purchaser.” The court details the purchasing experiences of each named plaintiff in this consolidated action and finds that most did not read the packaging, understood what the word “soluble” means or purchased the product due to price, shelf placement, imagery, or because they liked to try new things. Finding that the plaintiffs failed to show evidence to support their claims, the packaging “is not designed to mislead consumers,” and “[i]t says what it is,” the court entered judgment for the defendants and closed the case docket.


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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.