The Second Quarter of 2020 has demonstrated increased filings in the food litigation space. Amidst reduced court operations and a significant decrease to general commercial litigation filings attributable to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the number of food litigation cases filed so far this are substantially higher than this point last year. As of June 2020, more than 100 food litigation matters have been filed so far this year.

One of the surprising trends emerging in the second half of 2019 was the increase in filings in New York. Traditionally, California has been the most common destination for food litigation filings. At the end of 2019, New York courts saw more cases filed, and this trend has continued into 2020. More than 50 food litigation, or approximately half, of all food litigation matters filed year-to-date June 2020 were filed in New York courts.

Related to the increase in New York case filings, another increased food litigation trend is the increased litigation surrounding vanilla flavoring claims. While such cases numbered less than 10 during the first half of 2019, 2019 saw more than 40 cases filed by the end of the year, generally filed in New York’s federal courts. So far this year, more than 30 vanilla-related matters have been filed, again largely in New York courts.

Even with limited court operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, food litigation filings are set to outpace those of last year.

Annual Filing Trends

Filings by Jurisdiction

Filings by Category