Starbucks facing potential class action lawsuit from Colorado Springs woman over non-dairy surcharges

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A Starbucks cafe on the corner of Walnut Street and College Avenue in Fort Collins. March 24, 2023.

A Colorado Springs woman has filed a class action lawsuit against Starbucks on behalf of lactose intolerant consumers who pay surcharges for requesting non-dairy milk alternatives.

Lora Premo, who is lactose intolerant, filed the complaint in the United State District Court, District of Colorado. The lawsuit alleges that Starbucks violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by charging 50 to 70 cents extra for oat, almond, coconut and soy milk. 

A judge must certify the complaint as a class action before it can move forward. If that happens, other affected people can request to join the suit.

“There is no material difference between the price of 2 percent regular milk and the price of some Non-Dairy Alternatives that supports levying a blanket Surcharge to substitute Non-Dairy Alternatives in Starbucks’ drinks,” the lawsuit argued. 

Premo’s lawsuit alleges that international Starbucks locations, such as those in Japan and the United Kingdom, offer non-dairy options free of charge. Other large coffee chains, such as Caribou Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee, have removed their non-dairy surcharges in recent years. 

Premo and her lawyers have requested that the court award her and other affected individuals compensatory damages of at least $5 million. The lawsuit claims that it represents an affected class of potentially thousands. 

The law firm representing Premo, Keith Gibson Law, P.C., has filed similar lawsuits against Starbucks and Dunkin’ in California. 

Starbucks has not responded to CPR News’ request for comment.