Starbucks Slapped With $5 Million Lawsuit

Starbucks Slapped With $5 Million Lawsuit

( – In March 2024, three California customers of Starbucks filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain. The claim states that they are discriminating against customers who ask for non-dairy substitutes in their drinks.

All three of the plaintiffs are lactose intolerant, so they require a milk alternative, which costs between fifty and eighty cents extra for each drink at Starbucks. The extra charge for the substitution of non-dairy for milk is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also violates California’s law regarding civil rights, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims that Starbucks’ price increase for people who are unable to consume milk is discriminatory, as they are preying on customers who should be protected by the ADA. It argues that the higher-priced substitute milk made from oat, soy, almond, or coconut is not reflective of the actual cost for Starbucks. The lawsuit claims that the retail costs of these alternatives to milk at Starbucks are not that much higher than milk costs.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Keith Gibson, released a statement saying that the ADA classifies lactose intolerance as a disability protected under their law. This affects millions of Starbucks’s customers with their discriminatory pricing.

According to a Starbucks spokesperson, the coffee chain will not comment on the ongoing litigation. However, the spokesperson defended their practice of charging extra for their alternative products to replace the milk in their drinks for customers who request it.

Starbucks also said in their statement that customers are able to add a milk substitute for no cost to several drinks, including brewed tea or coffee (iced or hot), Americano, and Cold Brew drinks. Customers can customize their beverage of choice with products like syrup, espresso shots, or alternative milk products, but they incur additional charges for these customizations.

The lawsuit claims that the plaintiffs suffer from vomiting, bloating, stomach pain, and bowel irregularities when consuming milk. The claim argues that an alternative to milk is not a frivolous choice but a necessity. They don’t charge extra for other modifications like sugar-free or non-fat.

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