Co-Lead Counsel for Direct Purchasers of “K-Cup” Coffee Pods in Class Action Alleging Keurig’s Unlawful Monopolization of Compatible Cup Market
In re: Keurig Green Mountain Single Serve Coffee Antitrust Litigation, 14-md-02542 (S.D.N.Y.)
Robins Kaplan serves as court-appointed co-lead counsel on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of K-Cups, the pods compatible with Keurig-brand coffee makers. In this multidistrict litigation, plaintiffs allege that Keurig unlawfully monopolized the market for “compatible cups” (e.g., cups compatible with Keurig’s single-serve brewer) through a multifaceted anticompetitive scheme designed to exclude competitors, allowing the company to charge inflated prices for K-Cups. Keurig reports net sales of Keurig brewers and K-Cups of approximately $4 billion per year.
Plaintiffs allege that Keurig’s anticompetitive actions include, among other things, eliminating potential competitors by acquiring them; coercing suppliers, distributors, and retailers to enter into unduly restrictive exclusive dealing agreements that have the effect of raising barriers to market entry for competitors; pursuing sham patent litigation against competitors; and developing a new model K-Cup brewer with “lock-out” technology designed to prevent cups not manufactured by Keurig from working with the brewer.
Litigation on behalf of the direct purchaser class remains ongoing. Also included in the multi-district litigation are two antitrust actions filed by competing manufacturers of cups designed to work in K-Cup brewers, a complaint filed by indirect purchasers of K-Cups, and individual actions filed by several direct purchasers. Indirect purchaser plaintiffs reached a settlement of $31 million with Keurig in late 2020, which was granted final approval in June of 2021.
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