Kona Coffee Farmers Win $33m in Settlements

Kona coffee farmers have recently reached an additional settlement of $12 million in their class-action lawsuit alleging false labeling.

In March 2022, Rancho Aloha highlighted in our blog post that in 2019, a group of Kona coffee farmers filed a class-action lawsuit in Federal District Court in Seattle (Corker, et al. vs. Costco). The lawsuit alleged that more than 20 defendants were marketing falsely labeled Kona coffee and had caused economic damage to the growers of Kona coffee.

On April 24, 2023, lawyers for the coffee farmer class filed a motion with the court for preliminary approval of a settlement with the owner of Hawaii's chain of ABC Stores. The settlement provides for payment of $12 million by this defendant, along with an agreement that any coffee sold by ABC Stores as "Kona" or "Kona Blend" will be labeled accurately and unambiguously and in compliance with Hawaii's coffee labeling laws.

Together with 12 previous settlements, the ABC Stores agreement brings the total of settlement payments in the case to more than $33 million. The only two remaining claims from the lawsuit involve two defendants that have filed for bankruptcy.

To review media coverage of this latest development in the lawsuit, here are links to articles from Honolulu Civil Beat and Law 360. To review the motion and memorandum filed last month with the Court for preliminary approval of the settlement, click here.

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