Corker, et al. v. CostCo Wholesale Corp., et al., NO. 1:19-CV-290 (W.D. WASH.)
In October 2023, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik granted final approval to the latest settlement in a lawsuit brought by Hawaiian farmers accusing retailers and suppliers of selling regular coffee under the name “Kona.” Defendants have agreed to provide Kona farmers more than $122 million in economic relief, including $41 million in cash payments to the Kona growers and a host of labeling and business practice changes to ensure accurate and reliable labeling of Kona coffee products. In approving the latest settlement, Judge Lasnik described this litigation as one “of the most impressive class action cases I have dealt with in my time on the federal bench, and the results as “great for justice … a real result that makes people whole again.”
Lieff Cabraser brought suit on behalf of the farmers in 2019, claiming that only coffee harvested from Hawaii’s Big Island is actually Kona coffee, and that those companies — almost two dozen named in the original suit — were selling beans and ground coffee under the name without buying from them, in violation of the Lanham Act. The David vs. Goliath style case pitted three small, longtime Kona coffee farms against 22 major coffee suppliers and retailers, selling a variety of mislabeled coffee products across the country in multiple channels of commerce.