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Starbucks sued over 'free coffee' offer

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  • David Mosley
    Eternal Administrator
    • Jul 2004
    • 11823

    Starbucks sued over 'free coffee' offer

    Starbucks sued for pulling offer

    A Starbucks customer in the US who was told her free drink voucher was worthless is launching a $114m (£60m) lawsuit against the coffee colossus.

    Starbucks pulled the free drink offer, saying it had been redistributed beyond its original intent.

    The woman's lawyer says $114m equals the cost of drinks for all those turned away when the company decided to cancel its offer.

    He hopes millions of other disappointed customers will join the legal effort.

    The company originally e-mailed the offer to employees in the south-east of the US, with instructions to forward it to family and friends.

    Like many popular things on the internet, the e-mail quickly got out of control, being forwarded to perhaps millions of people around the country and posted on websites.

    When Starbucks realised how many people were coming in for their free drink, it rescinded the offer.

    McDonald's case

    But one customer in New York city felt so betrayed she approached a lawyer.

    He is accusing the company of fraud and is requesting class-action status for the lawsuit, hoping to sign-up countless others around the country who also missed out on their free drink.

    Legal experts do not think the case has much chance of winning.

    Nevertheless, many are comparing it to the infamous McDonald's coffee lawsuit a decade ago.

    In that case, the hamburger restaurant was sued by a woman who scalded herself after spilling a hot cup of coffee.

    She claimed McDonald's made their coffee too hot. The company lost and was ordered to pay nearly $3m in damages.

    Now, coffee cups from McDonald's, Starbucks and other companies in the US carry a warning label similar to cigarette packages, saying that the beverage could cause injury if not consumed properly.
    I know Herr Fuchs is (or was) a consumer of Starbucks products so this may interest him at least.
    _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
    _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
    _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
    _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."
  • Reinart der Fuchs
    Mr. The Fox
    • May 2006
    • 4708

    I saw the sign at a drive-thru recently, and I thought to myself, "this is going to hurt".
    Infinite complexity according to simple rules.


    • Reinart der Fuchs
      Mr. The Fox
      • May 2006
      • 4708

      Originally posted by Reinart der Fuchs
      I saw the sign at a drive-thru recently, and I thought to myself, "this is going to hurt".
      I don't drink Starbucks coffee all that often. I drink the one dollar cup of Terrafazione which is so bitter (and tasty) that the coffee at home is very disappointing.
      Infinite complexity according to simple rules.


      • Morgan Kane
        Lost in the multiverse
        • Jun 2006
        • 1428

        Stella Awards!

        Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards."
        The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who
        spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in
        NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous,
        ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States

        Here are this year's winners ( 2006 ):


        5th Place (tie)

        Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000. by a jury of
        her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was
        running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were
        understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving
        little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

        5th Place (tie)

        19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical
        expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr.
        Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the
        car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

        5th Place (tie)

        Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had
        just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the
        garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was
        malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door
        connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The
        family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the
        garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a
        large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming
        the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the
        tune of $500,000. In my opinion this is so outrageous that it should
        have been 2nd Place!

        4th Place

        Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500. and
        medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door
        neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced
        yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog
        might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who
        had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it
        repeatedly with a pellet gun.

        3rd Place

        A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of
        Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500. after she slipped on a soft drink
        and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because
        Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an


        Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a
        night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom
        window to
        the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms.
        Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to
        avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge . She was awarded $12,000 and
        dental expenses

        1st Place

        This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City,
        Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor
        home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having
        driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and
        calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back & make herself a
        sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and
        overturned. Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the
        owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded
        her $1,750,000. plus a new motor home. The company actually changed
        their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any
        other complete morons around.

        Stephen Joseph of San Francisco, Calif. Joseph runs a non-profit group whose goal is to ban the "trans fats" used in many processed foods and which are indeed very unhealthy. But to help gain publicity for his cause, Joseph, an attorney, chose one food that uses trans fats -- Oreo cookies -- and sued Kraft Foods for putting the stuff in the snack. The resulting publicity over "suing Oreos" was so intense that Joseph dropped the suit after just 13 days. He never even served the suit on Kraft, showing that he had no interest in actually getting the case heard in court. What real cases got pushed aside during his abuse of the courts to get publicity for his pet organization?

        #7: Shawn Perkins of Laurel, Ind. Perkins was hit by lightning in the parking lot Paramount's Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. A classic "act of God", right? No, says Perkins' lawyer. "That would be a lot of people's knee-jerk reaction in these types of situations." The lawyer has filed suit against the amusement park asking unspecified damages, arguing the park should have "warned" people not to be outside during a thunderstorm.

        #6: Caesar Barber, 56, of New York City. Barber, who is 5-foot-10 and 270 pounds, says he is obese, diabetic, and suffers from heart disease because fast food restaurants forced him to eat their fatty food four to five times per week. He filed suit against McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC, who "profited enormously" and asked for unspecified damages because the eateries didn't warn him that junk food isn't good for him. The judge threw the case out twice, and barred it from being filed a third time. Is that the end of such McCases? No way: lawyers will just find another plaintiff and start over, legal scholars say.

        #5: Cole Bartiromo, 18, of Mission Viejo, Calif. After making over $1 million in the stock market, the feds made Bartiromo pay it all back: he gained his profits, they said, using fraud. Bartiromo played baseball at school, but after his fraud case broke he was no longer allowed to participate in extracurricular sports. Bartiromo clearly learned a lot while sitting in federal court: he wrote and filed his own lawsuit against his high school, reasoning that he had planned on a pro baseball career but, because he was kicked off the school's team, pro scouts wouldn't be able to discover him. His suit demands the school reimburse him for the great salary he would have made in the majors, which he figures is $50 million.

        #4: Priest David Hanser, 70. Hanser was one of the first Catholic priests to be caught up in the sex abuse scandal. In 1990, he settled a suit filed by one of his victims for $65,000. In the settlement, Hanser agreed not to work with children anymore, but the victim learned that Hanser was ignoring that part of the agreement. The victim appealed to the church, asking it to stop Hanser from working near children, but the church would not intervene. "It's up to the church to decide where he works," argued the priest's lawyer. When the outraged victim went to the press to warn the public that a pedo priest was near children, Hanser sued him for the same $65,000 because he violated his own part of the deal -- to keep the settlement secret. The message is clear: shut up about outrageous abuse, or we'll sue you for catching us.

        #3: Wanda Hudson, 44, of Mobile, Ala. After Hudson lost her home to foreclosure, she moved her belongings to a storage unit. She says she was inside her unit one night "looking for some papers" when the storage yard manager found the door to her unit ajar -- and locked it. She denies that she was sleeping inside, but incredibly did not call for help or bang on the door to be let out! She was not found for 63 days and barely survived; the formerly "plump" 150-pound woman lived on food she just happened to have in the unit, and was a mere 83 pounds when she was found. She sued the storage yard for $10 million claiming negligence. Even though the jury was not allowed to learn that Hudson had previously diagnosed mental problems, it found Hudson was nearly 100 percent responsible for her own predicament -- but still awarded her $100,000.

        #2: Doug Baker, 45, of Portland, Ore. Baker says God "steered" him to a stray dog. He admits "People thought I was crazy" to spend $4,000 in vet bills to bring the injured mutt back to health, but hey, it was God's dog! But $4,000 was nothing: he couldn't even take his girlfriend out to dinner without getting a dog-sitter to watch him. When the skittish dog escaped the sitter, Baker didn't just put an ad in the paper, he bought display ads so he could include a photo. His business collapsed since he devoted full time to the search for the dog. He didn't propose to his girlfriend because he wanted the dog to deliver the ring to her. He hired four "animal psychics" to give him clues to the animal's whereabouts, and hired a witch to cast spells. He even spread his own urine around to "mark his territory" to try to lure the dog home! And, he said, he cried every day. Two months in to the search, he went looking for the dog where it got lost -- and quickly found it. His first task: he put a collar on the mutt. (He hadn't done that before for a dog that was so "valuable"?!) After finding the dog, he sued the dog sitter, demanding $20,000 for the cost of his search, $30,000 for the income he lost by letting his business collapse, $10,000 for "the temporary loss of the special value" of the dog, and $100,000 in "emotional damages" -- $160,000 total. God has not been named as a defendant.

        And the winner of the 2003 True Stella Awards: The City of Madera, Calif. Madera police officer Marcy Noriega had the suspect from a minor disturbance handcuffed in the back of her patrol car. When the suspect started to kick at the car's windows, Officer Noriega decided to subdue him with her Taser. Incredibly, instead of pulling her stun gun from her belt, she pulled her service sidearm and shot the man in the chest, killing him instantly. The city, however, says the killing is not the officer's fault; it argues that "any reasonable police officer" could "mistakenly draw and fire a handgun instead of the Taser device" and has filed suit against Taser, arguing the company should pay for any award from the wrongful death lawsuit the man's family has filed. What a slur against every professionally trained police officer who knows the difference between a real gun and a stun gun! And what a cowardly attempt to escape responsibility for the actions of its own under-trained officer.

        they are becoming mad .......................

        The explaination is jugement by juries . Juries in civil cases are sometimes overacting.


        • Idiot_Savant
          Denizen of Moo Uria
          • Jun 2006
          • 198

          I have a weakness for strawberry pop tarts and mint oreo cookies. Had both stored together in a zip lock freezer bag, to bring them here to work.....Go to get my pop tart it tasted all minty. Told my husband I'm going to sue the Pop tart people because they did not put a warning on the box not to store pop tarts with mint cookies . Our claim will be worth millions! We can buy our own desert island, a Lear Jet to jet off to India whenever we want. Oh boy just live the good life. NO MORE CHEAP WINE BABY!
          Think I have a case ?

          he looked at me like you probably are thinking right now...this woman ain't right.


          • Morgan Kane
            Lost in the multiverse
            • Jun 2006
            • 1428

            why, for a " good " lawyer the case is interesting .......

            i remember a superman episod where a fake infirm goes to court against superman ..... Superman looks for a lawyer and thereis a gallery ..... very realistic but not honoring the profession .....

            i have nothing against honest/good lawyer ....


            • johneffay
              Born Again Nihilist
              • Sep 2005
              • 3394

              Originally posted by Idiot_Savant
              Told my husband I'm going to sue the Pop tart people because they did not put a warning on the box not to store pop tarts with mint cookies .
              You need to seek sound leagal advice on this one because you might be better off sueing the mint cookie people because they failed to put a warning on the box not to store their product with pop tarts.

              Then again, I'm rather suspicious about the role of the zip lock freezer bag manufacturer in your Great Personal Tragedy...


              • Muroc
                Condition Steady
                • Aug 2006
                • 448

                Originally posted by Morgan Kane
                Stella Awards!

                Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards."
                The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who
                spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in
                NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous,
                ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States
                makes you wonder if this is why nothing you get from franchised take-away's is hot anymore .... only luke warm...

                and over in the big black booth near the edge of the fairground, the last band is playing...


                • Idiot_Savant
                  Denizen of Moo Uria
                  • Jun 2006
                  • 198

                  I've already emailed my cousin. I just know he'll see the genius of my claims!

                  It has nothing to do with the fact that I had the silver wrapped pop tart already open in there with an open cartoon of cookies. nothing at all. It's HEB's, Nabisco's and Kellogg's fault for not properly educating me on the proper use and storage of their products.

                  Let me tell you a minty strawberry pop tart tastes very nasty. It caused me much undue mental stress and anguish, not to mention the cost of toothpaste and mouth wash to get the taste out of my mouth.


                  • Morgan Kane
                    Lost in the multiverse
                    • Jun 2006
                    • 1428

                    i sympathize .......

                    May be we should think about a class action ?


                    • devilchicken
                      We'll get to that later
                      • Nov 2004
                      • 2814

                      I saw a programme back in the UK about a guy who tried to sue a hotel chain because he claimed that the vacuum pump in the pool had 'sucked' his genitals into it.

                      They had to hack up the concrete to free him, but noone believed him that he was 'innocently swimming' when this happened.
                      Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                      Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!


                      • Doc
                        Eternal Champion
                        • Jan 2004
                        • 3630

                        Sorry to be too serious here, but...

                        Starbucks deserves to be sued, but not over this. (However, I'm certain they could take the hit for a free cup of coffee, even for everyone in the U.S.)

                        Starbucks has horrible growing and buying practices. They encourage land-intensive farming, and do not exactly adhere to fair trade practices. The farmers and the environment don't have a good lawyer...

                        Of course, civil juries get carried away--one reason why I fear a jury of my "peers" in a criminal case.

                        What is bad about these cases is the precidents they set. Many people sue because insurance companies will settle rather than fight a court case. It is easier (and far cheaper) to write a check than to litigate in many instances.