The Little Book of Coffee Law

The Brooklyn Law School Library has added to its collection The Little Book of Coffee Law by Carol Robertson (Call #KF1984.C6 R63 2010). Robertson also wrote The Little Red Book of Wine Law: a Case of Legal Issues (Call #K3935 .R62 2008). Her latest book traces the history of legal disputes involving coffee. One of the earliest US Supreme Court cases, Little v. Barreme, 6 U.S. 170 (1804) involved the seizure of a Danish vessel, the Flying Fish, with a cargo of coffee under orders of the Secretary of the Navy on behalf of President John Adams “to intercept any suspected American ship sailing to or from a French port.” The Court, ruling that the order overstepped an act of Congress and that the action by the President was not constitutional, found Captain George Little liable for damages to the owner of the neutral vessel.

The book’s 24 chapters cover cases with a wide range of legal issues from insurance law, Orient Mutual Ins. Co. v. Wright, 68 U.S. 456 (1863) to trademark law, Hills Bros. Coffee v. Hills Supermarkets, Inc. 428 F.2d 379 (2nd Cir. 1970) and, the Starbucks v. Sambucks case, Starbucks Corp. v. Lundberg, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32660 (D. Or. 2005). Also covered are the rights of publicity and the single-publication rule, Christoff v. Nestle USA Inc., 47 Cal.4th 468 (2009), liability for burns caused by hot coffee, McMahon v. Bunn-O-Matic Corp., 150 F. 3d 651, (7th Cir. 1998) and fair trade issues involving both U.S. litigation, El Salto, S.A., Escuintla, Guatemala, C.A. v. PSG Co., 444 F.2d 477 (9th Cir. 1971) and a 2007 European Union ruling
in Douwe Egberts Coffee Systems Netherlands B.V. v. Province of Groningen. Between chapters, there are coffee breaks with short pieces on coffee customs, coffee brewing methods, and the legal world in which coffee is grown, produced, shipped, marketed, sold, and consumed.