A U.S. District Court Judge this week couldn’t resist an attempted mic drop in response to a class action lawsuit related to Maxwell House brand coffee labeling.
In an order granting final approval of a $16 million settlement in a class action case initiated last October, U.S. Southern District of Florida Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II declared the settlement agreement “good to the last drop” — a reference to the Maxwell House brand tagline that dates back to at least 1915.
“After careful consideration of the record and Final Approval Motions, the Court finds the instant settlement — which resolves claims regarding the purported mislabeling of ground coffee — is good to the last drop,” Ruiz wrote.
The order cites a YouTube video that describes a 1976 Maxwell House commercial. As of this writing, the video was no longer available on YouTube. Ruiz then spent another 45 legal pages outlining how and why lawyers are to be paid, and other matters of the court.
Maxwell House owner Kraft Heinz was the defendant named in the case, which was filed by lawyers for Florida woman Kimberly Ferron on behalf of anyone who purchased specific Maxwell House or Yuban brand coffee products between Aug. 27, 2015, and Jan. 18, 2021.
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The suit alleged that the packages misled consumers about how many individual servings of coffee the products could produce, based on brewing instructions printed on the product labels. Specifically, the labels indicated that 1 tablespoon of Maxwell House coffee with 6 ounces of water could make 1 serving of coffee, and that half a cup, or 8 tablespoons, would make 10 servings.
Ferron, who purchased Maxwell House coffee at a Broward County Walmart was deprived, misled and deceived, according to the lawsuit, by finding that the coffee product in question could not brew the full 180 to 210 servings, as listed on the back of the plastic containers.
The case resulted in a $16 million settlement agreement last December. People who purchased the coffee products within the timeframe willing to go through the class member registration process and waive future legal rights were eligible to receive 80 cents per unit purchased, with reimbursement of up to $4.80 per household without proofs of purchase, or $25 per household with proof of purchase. The deadline to apply has passed.
According to Judge Ruiz’s knee-slapping order this week, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the class are now entitled to $3.9 million in compensation.
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a typo. The original version stated that the Maxwell House slogan dates back to at least 2015. The slogan dates back to at least 1915.]