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Ohio Woman Sues Biggby Coffee Over Non-Dairy Milk Pricing


A Biggby Coffee location. Public domain photo.

Attorneys representing an Ohio woman have filed a class action lawsuit against Michigan-based Biggby Coffee, alleging discrimination by up-charging for non-dairy milks.

The complaint echoes similar class action complaints — in some instances word-for-word — filed against Starbucks Coffee and Dunkin’ that have moved through the courts in recent years.

Filed this week in U.S. District Court, Western Michigan, the lawsuit led by plaintiff Leslie Bower alleges that Biggby Coffee charges a 50 cents to $1 surcharge for non-dairy milks such as oat, soy, almond or coconut milk. However additional charges are not included for certain other additives or substitutions, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners, decaffeination or dairy milks of different fat contents, according to the complaint.

The suit says Bower suffers from lactose intolerance that causes symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, excessive gas, nausea, abdominal pain, cramping and fatigue, and thus must be careful not to consume dairy products.

Like the Starbucks and Dunkin’ suits, the latest lawsuit alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, while seeking damages on behalf of the class.

coffee beans

Representatives of Biggby Coffee have not yet replied to DCN’s request for comment. Offering franchising, the coffee chain has swelled to more than 400 locations since its founding in East Lansing in 1995.

Meanwhile, the Starbucks case, filed in late 2022 in the Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court under the name “Negreanu v. Starbucks Corporation,” was voluntarily dismissed on June 6 of this year.

The Dunkin’ case, filed in late 2023 under the name “Garland et al v. Dunkin Donuts LLC” is still active in Northern District of California court.

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