US: Keurig dismissal requests denied

A federal court has rejected a request by Keurig Green Mountain to dismiss multiple lawsuits charging that it has unfairly monopolized the market for single-serve “K-Cups” used in its popular coffee brewing machines.

“We’re very pleased that the court is allowing our clients—who seek to represent a class of direct purchasers—to pursue their claims seeking fair prices and consumer choice,” said Kellie Lerner of Robins Kaplan, which represents plaintiffs that purchased K-Cups directly from Keurig Green Mountain. “These are bedrock principles of a competitive marketplace.”

The proposed class represented by Robins Kaplan alleges that Keurig Green Mountain has taken active and unlawful steps to preserve its monopoly in the multibillion-dollar K-Cup market. Its complaint charges Keurig Green Mountain with buying up potential competitors, leaning on retailers to restrict access to competitive products, and creating a new brewer —the Keurig 2.0— that will not brew coffee from K-Cup-like cartridges made by unlicensed third parties. In fiscal year 2015, Keurig Green Mountain netted US$3.645 billion in sales from its beverage pods, the most notable of which were single-serve K-Cups.

The court’s decision keeps alive the majority of the claims Keurig Green Mountain sought to dismiss across multiple lawsuits. In addition to the direct purchasers represented by Robins Kaplan, other plaintiffs charging Keurig Green Mountain with unlawful monopolistic conduct include a proposed class of indirect purchasers, such as individuals who purchased K-Cups from retailers, and makers of competing cartridges.

Full Content: Business Wire

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