Friday, September 15, 2006

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114M lawsuit over coffee coupon

photo © Michael Lane for

Starbucks clearly never heard the term 'viral email'

It perhaps wasn't the smartest offer in Starbucks long corporate history. When the company sent an email round to its employees with a coupon for a free 'grande' iced drink, suggesting that they forward it to 'friends and family', it probably shouldn't have been hard to work out that it might end up getting forwarded to rather a large number of people.

But when they noticed how many people were showing up claiming their free drinks, they quickly pulled the offer, a month before it was originally due to expire.

And now an attorney in New York is suing them for $114million, on the grounds of 'betrayal' and 'fraud'.

Peter Sullivan has launched a class-action suit against the company on behalf of all the people denied a free drink. However, currently the only plaintiff actually involved is a paralegal named Kelly Coakley.

Mr Sullivan hopes that some other people will join his lawsuit in the fullness of time.

He said: 'In New York, this is of great significance to many people day-to-day. There were lines of people outside Starbucks. There are a lot of upset people.'

The case is already being compared by some to the lawsuit in which McDonalds were sued over their coffee being too hot. The difference here being that nobody was caused third degree burns.

This article originally appeared in on 12 September 2006