Perkins Coie is pleased to announce the launch of our sixth annual Food Litigation Year in Review. In recognition of the firm’s practice expansion, this year-in-review report has been broadened to the Food & Consumer Packaged Goods Litigation Year in Review 2021. Accompanying the 2021 report are infographics that highlight key litigation outcomes, filing
The Reasonable Consumer Defense: Vanilla Cases Show It’s Here to Stay in Food Litigation
Food litigation filings have risen significantly in the recent past. According to data collected by Perkins Coie, even with the pandemic, filings targeting the food and beverage industry have seen record levels in 2020 and 2021. But these filings face a formidable obstacle: the reasonable consumer defense. Courts continue to apply the “reasonable consumer” standard…
Food & Consumer Packaged Goods Litigation Year in Review 2020
Perkins Coie is pleased to announce that its fifth annual Food Litigation Year in Review, in coordination with the expansion of the firm’s practice, has been broadened and renamed the Food & Consumer Packaged Goods Litigation Year in Review. In coordination with this rebranding, we have also launched an infographic report that highlights key litigation outcomes, filing data, and industry trends. Despite a tumultuous year, one thing stayed the same: plaintiffs’ class action attorneys continued to file plenty of lawsuits against manufacturers of consumer packaged goods (CPGs).
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Industry Insights: Day Two of the 5th Annual Food Law CLE Conference
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.…
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Food Litigation Year in Review 2019
Perkins Coie is pleased to present its fourth annual Food Litigation Year in Review 2019, offering a summary of the past year’s key litigation outcomes, regulatory developments, and filing data. Using metrics from our proprietary database, developed by our food litigation team in order to track and understand trends in this area, 2019’s Year in Review again reports an increase in class action litigation, with a record-breaking 173 new lawsuits filed. The upward filing trends in the class action landscape are mirrored in other industries and in the prosecution of related claims: putative class actions against the pet food and dietary supplement industries were on the rise in 2019, as were Proposition 65 warning notices.
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Notable Ruling: Reasonable Consumers Not Misled by “Diet” Soft Drinks
The Ninth Circuit delivered a win for food and beverage companies just in time for the new year in a published opinion in Becerra v. Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., — F.3d —, 2019 WL 7287554 (9th Cir. Dec. 30, 2019).
Plaintiff in Becerra alleged that use of the word “diet” to describe Diet Dr Pepper is misleading because it suggests the product will help consumers lose weight. She relied on several scientific studies to allege that aspartame, the artificial sweetener in many diet sodas, “is likely to cause weight gain,” and “poses no benefit for weight loss.” She also relied on the results of a survey that, according to Plaintiff, showed the majority of soft-drink consumers believe “diet” soft drinks will help them lose or maintain their weight. After several rounds of motion to dismiss briefing, the district court dismissed plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice, and plaintiff appealed.…
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Notable Ruling: Glyphosate Verdict—Implications for Food Litigation
As you all know, the Northern District of California jury found earlier this week that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide product was a “substantial factor” in causing a plaintiff’s non Hodgkin lymphoma. The defendants and industry were all very optimistic that the trial, which focused solely on causation and not knowledge or company conduct, would result in an impartial scientific analysis. Unfortunately, the jury ignored a very substantial body of literature that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is safe. It also ignored the conclusions of virtually every regulatory or public health group, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), subcommittees off the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Unfortunately, hundreds of similar cases are pending and a state court jury in Alameda also rendered a verdict against Monsanto.
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Food Litigation Year in Review 2018
Perkins Coie is pleased to present its third annual Food Litigation Year in Review, offering a summary of the year’s key litigation outcomes, regulatory developments, and filing data. Last year, pointing to uncertainty at the appellate level, Perkins Coie predicted continued litigation in 2018. Using metrics from our proprietary database, developed by our food…
Notable Ruling: What’s In Your Water?
In its recent ruling in Weiss v. Trader Joe’s Company, the Central District of California faced the question of whether certain statements on product labels promoting high-alkalinity water were false and misleading or simply puffery. Among these statements were claims that the water is “ionized to achieve the perfect balance.” Plaintiff Dana Weiss argued …
Notable Ruling: Another Motion to Dismiss for Diet Soda
Just two and a half months after the Northern District of California ruled that a reasonable consumer would not be misled to believe “Diet Coke” aids in weight loss, a similar suit against Pepsi-Cola for its Diet Pepsi product has been dismissed (Manuel v. Pepsi-Cola Company). This is the fourth ruling in the past three months dismissing similar claims.
On Thursday, May 17, the Southern District of New York’s Judge Paul A. Engelmayer entered an order granting Pepsi’s motion to dismiss. The class alleged that Pepsi misrepresented its products with the label “diet,” a word that may signify to consumers that the product aids in weight loss. The Court held that nothing in Pepsi’s labeling or advertising claims suggested that the product would assist a consumer in weight loss or weight management. The Court referenced what a reasonable consumer would think – “diet does not stand in isolation,” it said. As such, the Court stated, reasonable consumers would realize that “diet” in the context of a soda means a lower caloric count and that lower caloric count does not mean weight loss.…
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