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Maxwell House $16 Million Coffee-Quantity Deal Gets Early Nod

Jan. 20, 2021, 5:59 PM

Kraft Heinz Foods Co. and consumers won a Florida federal court’s early approval for a $16 million nationwide class settlement resolving allegations that Maxwell House and Yuban ground coffee containers overstate how many cups they’ll make.

The deal is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and was the product of informed, good-faith, arm’s-length negotiations, Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida said Tuesday.

The settlement also calls for $3.9 million in fees and costs to be paid to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, which Kraft Heinz agreed not to oppose, the plaintiffs’ petition for tentative approval says.

Kimberly E. Ferron alleged Kraft Heinz products were deceptively marketed because they don’t contain enough ground coffee to make the stated number of cups when following the brewing instructions on the label.

The settlement would pay up to $4.80 per household to class members who don’t have a valid proof of purchase, and up to $25 per household to those with proof. It also provides label changes.

Kraft Heinz agreed to either remove challenged language from the product labels, or revise the stated serving ranges to correspond to the cups of coffee that can be brewed following the directions for a single cup and 10 cups of coffee, the plaintiffs’ filing says.

The settlement covers persons who bought covered Maxwell House or Yuban coffee products after Aug. 27, 2015.

Aldi Inc., Kroger Co., and JM Smucker Co. and its Folgers Coffee Co. unit face similar suits. A petition to combine the Folgers suits before a single judge is pending before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

The Law Office of L. DeWayne Layfield PLLC, the Southern Atlantic Law Group PLLC, and the Law Office of Howard W. Rubinstein PA were appointed class counsel. Kenny Nachwalter PA and Jenner & Block LLP represented Kraft Heinz.

The case is Ferron v. Kraft Heinz Foods Co., S.D. Fla., No. 0:20-cv-62136, 1/19/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com