Category Archives Spotlight

Shook Partners Paul La Scala and Naoki Kaneko, with Associate Emily Weissenberger, will join Western Growers Vice President and General Counsel Jason Resnick for a complimentary webinar on the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The webinar will cover (i) Prop. 65 warnings at facilities; (ii) product labels on packaging and websites; (iii) special considerations for the produce industry; and (iv) the anatomy of a Prop. 65 case.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon has been named the “Top Firm for Food & Beverage” news in the JD Supra 2018 Readers Choice Awards, chosen by readers from more than 50,000 authors whose work was published on the site in 2017. Madeleine McDonough and Mark Anstoetter were ranked first and second “Top Authors” in Food & Beverage out of 800 authors, and McDonough was ranked second in “Top Authors” in the Class Action category.

Litigation, increasing online grocery shopping and consumer concerns regarding product ingredients were hot topics at the 2018 Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) conference. Founded in 1908, GMA comprises more than 250 food, beverage and consumer product companies—collectively, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies—and works as an advocate for its members and the industry. Many of the event’s panels focused on recent developments affecting the industry and expected trends going forward, including panels on Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Prop. 65) issues, the litigation landscape for CPG companies and pet food litigation issues. Shook Partners Jim Muehlberger and Naoki Kaneko presented with Courtney Ozer, Assistant General Counsel – Litigation for Unilever United States, on trends in class action litigation, noting a continued focus on natural claims—including more claims filed regarding consumer products like lotions, soaps and home care products—and trends stemming from an increased consumer focus on sustainability and…

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partners Jim Muehlberger and Lindsey Heinz, along with Associate Naoki Kaneko, will present at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) 2018 Legal Conference February 27-28, 2018, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Heinz will join a “Roundtable Discussion on Legal Issues for Organic Products," which will center on the continual market growth of organics, encompassing food, beverage, personal care and household products. The session will provide a comprehensive review of legal issues surrounding organic products. Muehlberger and Kaneko are presenting “Trends in Consumer Goods Class Action Litigation,” a breakout session that will broadly examine the types of claims the plaintiff’s bar has filed across the consumer goods industry to help companies better anticipate litigation risks.

For our final edition of 2017, the Food and Beverage Litigation Update is highlighting stories that have changed the industry over the Update's first 15 years. With help from our archives, we have tracked how these stories have evolved and continue to affect food and beverage companies. Thank you for joining us each week—we hope you have a happy holiday season and wonderful 2018.

This week, Shook, Hardy & Bacon celebrates 15 years of the Food & Beverage Litigation Update. Our first issue, published October 9, 2002, explored a number of legislative and litigation trends—including a governmental initiative to ban soft drinks in schools, a lawsuit challenging allegedly toxic ingredients in a protein bar and a U.S. Food and Drug Administration meeting on acrylamide—that we continue to cover each week as they progress through the evolving regulatory landscape. With our 650th issue, we are excited to announce the launch of the Food & Beverage Litigation Update website. On the website, you can find all 650 issues of the Update in the Archive as well as many issues divided into individual stories that are tagged and categorized with subjects and jurisdictions for your browsing convenience. We will continue to send you a weekly compilation of our coverage, and we welcome you to follow along with…

Emerging technologies are changing the way we live, travel and buy goods and services. While new technology may improve our lives, it also brings new risks. Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partners Cary Silverman and Phil Goldberg, with Of Counsel Jonathan Wilson, have authored a report, Torts of the Future: Addressing the Liability and Regulatory Implications of Emerging Technologies, addressing the challenges of promoting innovation and economic growth while protecting consumer safety and privacy. The report, published for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, focuses on five main areas of new technology: autonomous vehicles; the commercial use of drones; private space exploration; the “sharing economy,” which allows people to generate income from underused assets such as cars and housing; and “The Internet of Things,” involving products connected to collect and share data. The authors examine current technological developments, provide an overview of existing regulatory and liability frameworks, consider current and…

Concerns about how or whether the term “healthy” should be used in food labeling and packaging prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to hold a public comment meeting on the issue on March 9, 2017. Current FDA regulations allow the use of the term “healthy,” as well as similar terms, as implied nutrient-­content claims. However, the criteria for use vary for different food categories, and the criteria themselves are linked to elements of the nutrition facts panel and serving size regulations—both of which have undergone significant changes in recent years. FDA also received a citizen petition in 2015 from Kind LLC, a producer and distributor of snack bars, requesting the agency amend its regulations defining the use of the term with respect to total fat intake and emphasizing whole foods and dietary patterns instead of specific nutrients. Accordingly, FDA’s 2016 publication of “Use of the Term ‘Healthy’ in…

The parties to obesity-related litigation, brought on behalf of several teenagers against fast-food giant McDonald’s Corp. in 2002, have filed a stipulation of voluntary dismissal with prejudice. Pelman v. McDonald’s Corp., No. 02-7821 (S.D.N.Y., stipulation filed February 25, 2011). The action followed entry of an order in December 2010 scheduling pretrial discovery and motions filing and briefing for the individual claims remaining in this putative class action. A court refused to certify the action as a class in October. Pelman was closely watched by industry and consumer advocates as it made several trips before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that ultimately narrowed the issues for trial. It was expected to be groundbreaking litigation that would allow access to industry documents which plaintiffs’ interests believed could be used to bring a flood of litigation against companies they blame for the nation’s increasing incidence of obesity. The experience of litigators opposing…

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