On March 3, 2020, CLE International held the second day of Food Law: Navigating the Intersection Between Regulation of Litigation.  Now in its fifth year, the conference convenes individuals from the plaintiffs’ bar, academia, industry, and large law firms.

Perkins Coie’s David T. Biderman presented alongside attorneys from the plaintiff and defense bar on the panel “The Reasonable Consumer: An Interactive Debate.”  Panelists discussed recent trends in reasonable consumer decisions from the Second and Ninth Circuits and how these developments may affect the reasonable consumer doctrine moving forward.

David T. Biderman presenting with Angela M. Spivey and Gillian L. Wade. Panelist Ben Heikali is not pictured.

With the conference’s theme on the intersection of regulation and litigation, the program featured Laura Eichhorn Kurpad, an Associate Chief Counsel from FDA, who discussed the agency’s numerous efforts regarding food, nutrition, and food safety.  A lively audience Q&A did not stray far from the prepared remarks.

Professor Stephen Sugarman of U.C. Berkeley presented on a panel regarding constitutional issues in food law. This presentation dovetailed with that presented by UCLA’s Diana Winters and others regarding state law restrictions on food labeling.  These presentations surveyed First Amendment caselaw regarding labeling and marketing restrictions related to soft drinks, milk and milk substitutes, and alternative proteins, among other food products.

Other panels focused on the challenges of class certification.  Panelists from a plaintiffs’ firm and a large law firm discussed how courts are continuing to wrestle with class certification concepts such as ascertainability in the food litigation context.

Overall, the conference convened some of the leading practitioners in food law from both the plaintiff and defense bars to discuss recent trends that have the potential to shape how the growing food law field continues to develop.

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Photo of David T. Biderman David T. Biderman

David Biderman, a partner in Perkins Coie’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, focuses his practice on mass tort litigation and consumer class actions. He heads the firm’s Mass Tort and Consumer Litigation group. He has represented a wide variety of companies in…

David Biderman, a partner in Perkins Coie’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, focuses his practice on mass tort litigation and consumer class actions. He heads the firm’s Mass Tort and Consumer Litigation group. He has represented a wide variety of companies in state and federal courts in California for 30 years.

On consumer class actions, David represents packaged food companies, coffee companies, dairy companies, footwear companies and others whose nutritional or health claims have been challenged. He also has represented search engines and other online companies. He has a record of favorable results for clients. He successfully tried a major consumer fraud class action on behalf of one of the world’s major search engines in a case involving online gambling advertisements. For that same client, he negotiated a favorable settlement of a class action challenging its online advertising pricing. He represented a major coffee retailer in defeating a class action on standing grounds. He also has litigated pre-emption defenses arising out of food labeling and obtained a dismissal for a client whose nutritional statements were challenged.

For fifteen years, David managed the firm’s full-service product liability team responsible for defending over 1,000 toxic tort cases pending in Los Angeles and Northern California state courts. These cases entailed ongoing trial activity at various levels for several trials set each month. The highly experienced and well-coordinated team has handled thousands of asbestos toxic tort cases for a variety of clients, including FORTUNE 500 companies from such industries as consumer products, aerospace manufacturing, household goods, dry cleaning and industries that generate electromagnetic fields, such as electric utilities and operators of wireless communications systems.