Santa Cruz IMC
Santa Cruz IMC
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Curtis Reliford vs. Starbucks
by wildegurl
Tuesday Mar 17th, 2009 11:06 PM
Curtis Reliford and his Follow Your Heart Action Network sued Starbucks for slander after the Starbucks manager tried to have Curtis arrested for panhandling.
Curtis Reliford and about 20 supporters attended a court hearing today in front of Judge Almquist. It stemmed from an occurrence back in 2007 where Curtis Reliford, founder of the Follow Your Heart Action Network, parked his truck and trailer in front of Starbucks on Pacific Avenue in order to get a cup of coffee. He parked and then put money in two meters. The manager of Starbucks came out and harassed Curtis Reliford, claiming he was panhandling. She called the police to have him cited and went next door to get someone from The Vault to also harass Curtis. Police showed up, did not cite Mr. Reliford, and said he had done nothing illegal. There were no witnesses supporting Starbucks' claims, but there was at least one witness in court today supporting Curtis' version of the incident.

In the Sentinel article, the manager claims Curtis went table-to-table asking for donations, though the witnesses all claimed he had just arrived and had not asked anyone for money, he just wanted coffee. Curtis decided to sue Starbucks for slander, claiming that they have tarnished his non-profit's reputation by calling him a panhandler. You can bet that, had Curtis been part of Salvation Army or Red Cross, this incident would not have happened. And since Curtis is black, some question whether this was race related.

Today in court, after brief statements by both attorneys, Judge Almquist dismissed the case on the premise that calling a charitable organization a "panhandler" was not going to hurt its reputation or influence how it conducts its business. Observers felt that Reliford's attorney, John King, had done a poor job on the case as he said little, mumbled and paused through his presentation to the judge.

Curtis Reliford started the Follow Your Heart Action Network to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. He has received the 2006 KSBW Jefferson Award, the American Red Cross' Good Samaritan Award, and the NAACP's Community Service Award.

Further action against Starbucks is being planned. Check back for a protest out front of Starbucks in two weeks. Please boycott Starbucks.
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
Curtis Interviews and Courthouse Dialogue ArchivedRobert NorseMonday Mar 23rd, 2009 2:06 PM
Radio Coverage, Sentinel staticRobert NorseFriday Mar 20th, 2009 9:11 PM
Can't wait to hear what they sayLORD HEE HAWFriday Mar 20th, 2009 2:13 PM
I called!wildegurlFriday Mar 20th, 2009 8:05 AM
Call Starbucks Corp and complain!wildegurlThursday Mar 19th, 2009 5:54 PM
boycottlitigiousThursday Mar 19th, 2009 12:39 PM
Additional Info on SCCCORRobert NorseThursday Mar 19th, 2009 9:48 AM
Radio Report, Action Suggestion, and Some Additional ThoughtsRobert NorseThursday Mar 19th, 2009 9:34 AM
I have talked to him...LORD HEE HAWWednesday Mar 18th, 2009 8:05 PM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


Donate Now!

$ 135.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network