Our notable ruling roundup aims to keep our readers up to date on recent rulings in the food & consumer packaged goods space.

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  • Anne de Lacour, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Tom’s of Maine Inc., No. 1:16-cv-08364-KMW (S.D.N.Y. – January 3, 2024): The Southern District of New York granted defendants’ summary judgment and motion for class de-certification in a class action challenging the use of the word “natural” by defendants on the labels of their toothpaste and deodorant products because the products allegedly contain artificial and/or chemically processed ingredients. The court concluded that the evidence the plaintiffs offered to support their theory of deception was either inadmissible or insufficient to establish a reasonable consumer’s understanding of the term “natural.” The court reasoned that the words “natural” and “artificial” were ambiguous with several possible interpretations, and that plaintiffs failed “to produce evidence that a reasonable consumer interprets ‘natural’ in the manner plaintiffs allege, therefore, there is no triable issue of fact as to deception.” Opinion available here.
  • Erin Edwards v. Johnsonville LLC, No. 1:23-cv-01107 (N.D. Ill. – February 1, 2024): The Northern District of Illinois dismissed a complaint in putative class action alleging the labeling of defendant’s bratwurst products misleads consumers with representations that the products are “Made with 100% Premium Pork”, when they are encased in beef collagen. The court found that plaintiff’s claims of deception and misrepresentation are preempted because the products’ labeling passed the USDA’s pre-approval process and were preempted under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (“FMIA”). Opinion available here.

If you are a food or CPG company contact interested in receiving our daily email update on filings and notable rulings, please reach out to Kellie Hale with your request to be added: khale@perkinscoie.com.

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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.

Photo of Tommy Tobin Tommy Tobin

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false…

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false advertising claims and consumer protection claims for well-known international corporations.