Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bellevue Coffee Co. Sues Starbucks - Antitrust

A small coffee company in Bellevue (Belvi Coffee & Tea Exchange) is suing Starbucks for anti-competitive practices. The chief issue is Starbucks' exclusive lease agreements with 78% of the "Class A" office buildings in downtown Bellevue, under which Starbucks can block other retailers from getting a lease. These agreements are common nation-wide, and the plaintiff is seeking class-action certification. Starbucks sued over "unchecked ambition", Seattle Times, Sept. 26, 2006.

The plaintiff's attorney is Steve Berman, who has handled many complex cases. He was a special assistant attorney general for Washington and a dozen other states in the famous Tobacco Litigation and settlement. The case was filed Monday in federal district court (W.D. Wash.).

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