We know Food and Beverage. We represent America’s largest brand-holders, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Our food and beverage attorneys protect the consumer relationship, manufacturing process, ingredient, and packing innovations that define sector success. Decades of experience have honed our knowledge of the industry’s consumer, competitor, and regulatory landscapes and power our efficient, proactive representations. When conflicts do arise, we help clients manage, assess, and control litigation and litigation risks, engaging in a decisive courtroom contest whenever truly needed. Attuned to industry issues as well events trending on the horizon, our food and beverage lawyers help clients solve the conflicts that most jeopardize consumer trust and competitive advantage.
Are manufacturers using large-packaged goods to work around the price discrimination provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act?
Innovative and sophisticated antitrust counseling and litigation representation
An impressive track record of resolving complex legal and business challenges
Defense of consumer labeling and false-advertising claims
Protection of brand and consumer relationship in the aftermath of a contamination
Representation for complex, high-exposure insurance, reinsurance, and recovery claim disputes
Helping prevent, investigate, manage, and defend product liability litigation
Trial-born knowledge of patent infringement recovery, patent litigation defense, and key industry technologies
Vigorous protection of key brand assets from infringement and unfair competition
Safeguarding clients’ proprietary information and processes through all stages of litigation
Helping clients anticipate, manage, and resolve water issues impacting business operations and objectives
In re Wholesale Grocery Products Antitrust Litigation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4584 (D. Minn. Jan. 13, 2013): Represented grocery wholesaler SuperValu Inc. in consolidated federal antitrust actions on behalf of putative multi-state class of grocery retailers challenging 2003 asset exchange transaction. Obtained dismissal of several class representatives in favor of arbitration in 2011 (appeal pending), denial of class certification in 2012, and summary judgment dismissing all remaining claims in 2013.
In re Vitamins Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1285 (D.D.C.): Represented large agribusiness clients who were opt-out plaintiffs in In re Vitamins Antitrust Litigation. The Vitamins litigation arose out of a decade-long price-fixing cartel of the major international vitamin manufacturers and involved vigorously contested disputes regarding jurisdiction, foreign discovery, conspiracy, damages and expert issues. Clients included Land O’ Lakes, Inc., Hormel Foods Corporation, CHS Co-Operatives, Gold’n Plump Poultry, and other large vitamin purchasers. The cases settled after discovery was complete, but before trial, for in excess of $250,000,000.
In re Methionine Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1311, (N.D. Cal.): In In re Methionine Antitrust Litigation, represented many of the same large agribusiness clients as in In re Vitamins Antitrust Litigation. Involved a challenge to international price-fixing cartel. Settled for $35,000,000.
Represented SuperValu in Federal Trade Commission investigation regarding the asset exchange transaction. The FTC publicly announced the closure of the investigation in March 2011.
Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation we practice. They do not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case, as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. / Mondelēz International, Inc. v. Starbucks Coffee Company: Represented Kraft in a three-year arbitration regarding a breach of contract after Starbucks unilaterally terminated its agreement, cutting off Kraft’s exclusive rights to sell, market, and distribute Starbucks roast and ground coffee in grocery and other retail outlets. The arbitration resulted in a $2.7 billion cash award to Kraft.
Haagen-Dazs International Shoppe Company, Inc. v. Corporacion Todosabor C.A.: Counsel for Haagen-Dazs International Shoppe Company, Inc. in defending a claim brought by Corporacion Todosabor C.A. regarding a dispute over a franchise agreement. The matter went to international arbitration, Corporacion Todosabor C.A.'s claim was dismissed, and judgment was entered on behalf of Haagen-Dazs International.
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy v. Phillips Beverage Company: Trial counsel in $100 million international arbitration proceeding for the alleged breach of Belvedere vodka licensing agreements brought by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton French multi-national seller of luxury goods arising from alleged breach of trademark license agreement; obtained a complete defense verdict and an award of fees from unanimous three-member panel.
IP Corp. v. Gold Medal Bakery, Inc.: Represented Gold Medal Bakery, Inc. in defense of a dispute regarding private-label packaging, including counterclaim for consequential damages and unfair and deceptive business practices.
Represent Cargill Flavor Systems US, LLC nationally defending personal injury and product liability claims related to alleged exposure to diacetyl or diacetyl-containing products.
Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC v. McGill Technology Limited (D. Mich.): Represented Schwan’s in a patent infringement case involving food processing equipment. Case settled prior to trial.
Luigino’s, Inc. v. Robert Peterson and IBP: Represented Robert Peterson (the CEO of IBP) and the company, in the defense of a $500 million theft of trade secret, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract case. The District Court dismissed the case on a motion for summary judgment shortly before trial, a decision that was affirmed on appeal. Luigino’s, Inc. v. Peterson et al., 317 F.3d 909 (8th Cir. 2003).
Represented SuperValu and Cub Foods against Fleming and Rainbow Foods in an action for theft of trade secrets. On behalf of SuperValu and Cub, we alleged that Rainbow surreptitiously misappropriated Cub’s confidential store specials before publication in local newspapers and then used that ill-gained information to lure shoppers to its stores with lower advertised prices on the same special items. The case settled favorably on a confidential basis.
Phillips Beverage Company v. Sydney Frank Importing: Represented importer of luxury Belvedere-brand vodka against competing importer of Grey Goose vodka in case involving alleged false advertising in connection with national multi-media advertising campaign.
Dole Subrogation: Recovered over $6.5 million on behalf of Dole Foods, Inc. and Underwriters at Lloyd’s arising out of a fire at Dole’s plant in Yuma, Arizona.
Americold Fire: Multi-million dollar recovery from fire in 360-acre underground food warehouse for subrogated insurers and food companies.
Achieved confidential recovery for Lund Food Holdings (“Lunds/Byerly’s”) in the E. coli O157:H7 contamination litigation after Lunds/Byerly's responded to the 2007 recall of ground beef and hundreds of reports of contamination and illness. Also defended Lunds/Byerly's in numerous claims arising out of the ground beef contamination incident.
Multi-million dollar recovery for SuperValu in the E. coli O157:H7 contamination litigation after SuperValu responded to the 2000 recall of ground beef and thousands of reports of contamination and illness. Also defended SuperValu in numerous illness claims arising out of the ground beef contamination incident.
Multi-million dollar recovery for Schwan’s Sales Enterprises after the 1994 nationwide Salmonella Enteritidis contamination and recall of Schwan’s ice cream involving an estimated 224,000 ill consumers. Also coordinated the defense of Schwan’s in the claims and lawsuits arising out of the ice cream contamination incident. At that time, this food contamination event was considered by The New England Journal of Medicine to be the largest common-source salmonellosis outbreak ever recognized in the United States.
Window Rock Enterprises: Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of a health food products company. Client representation included helping to structure a plan pursuant to which a creditors trust was established.
Food Processing: With our successfully negotiated preferred stock investment, the founder of a billion-dollar food processing company was permitted to retire $20 million of high-interest rate mezzanine financing that was in default, eliminate personal guaranties, and rebuild portions of the business that suffered several market setbacks.
While best efforts provide some protection, no safeguards fully insulate against foodborne illnesses. To contain the harm imposed by these lurking catastrophes, companies must prepare with strategic and decisive crisis management.
Despite a food manufacturer and retailer’s best efforts, contamination can happen.
The importance of a policyholder's candor in the insurance application process was recently illustrated in a multimillion-dollar food contamination case.
The wait is over! After four-and-a-half years, the Food and Drug Administration recently finalized the first two of seven major rules required under the Food Safety Modernization Act on Sept. 10, 2015.
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