The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has denied a request to transfer four pending federal lawsuits to a multidistrict litigation court, finding that the common factual questions about General Mills’s alleged nationwide marketing claims for its Yo-Plus® yogurt products are not sufficiently complex or numerous to justify consolidation. In re: General Mills, Inc., Yoplus Yogurt Prods. Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2169 (JPML, order filed June 14, 2010).

Putative class actions, challenging the company’s claimed probiotic digestive benefits, are currently pending in federal courts in California, Florida, New Jersey, and Ohio. They involve statewide classes that the court found “will likely not overlap significantly.” The Florida action, already certified, is pending on interlocutory appeal before the Eleventh Circuit, and the California court stayed its class certification hearing pending the JPML’s ruling. According to the panel, “Because all plaintiffs are represented by mostly common counsel and General Mills is the sole defendant, the parties have every ability to cooperate and minimize the possibilities of duplicative discovery and/or inconsistent pretrial rulings.” See Product Liability Law 360, June 15, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.