From contract issues with distributors or suppliers, to false product claims or a product recall, commercial disputes are an inevitable part of doing business in the food, beverage and agribusiness industries. We draw on McDermott’s deep bench of litigators, which includes lawyers with substantive experience and knowledge in class actions, consumer fraud, data privacy and breaches of privacy, FDA compliance, false claims, and marketing and pricing.
Product liability issues and class action exposure are major concerns for many of our clients in this sector. We have extensive experience representing food stores and food processors in toxic tort litigation and in suits alleging various types of personal injury. Our class action lawyers obtain precertification dismissals and summary judgments, defeat class certification and obtain decertification of classes in multijurisdictional cases across the United States and internationally.
Our white-collar and securities defense practice helps clients navigate difficult challenges, including internal and external investigations. Following reports of potential misconduct or violations of state or federal regulations, we assemble experienced teams that respond to government investigations, including congressional hearings and parallel proceedings, and defend companies at trial. We work swiftly and discreetly to resolve issues with the goal of minimizing reputational harm and business and financial disruptions.
In the event that a corporation suspects wrongdoing or impropriety by one of its employees, officers, agents or distributors, we conduct confidential internal investigations to determine the nature and extent of the suspected misconduct, assess the implications of an employee’s alleged misconduct, criminal or otherwise, and advise company officers on how to handle a matter of noncompliance. We help identify possible improvements in policies, procedures, communications and training to help avoid the development of further problems.
An American subsidiary of a global, Swiss-based agribusiness company in the successful defense from two purported class actions brought by community water systems. The matters concerned allegations that, as a herbicide manufacturer, the company was liable for the presence or potential presence of a toxic substance in the water supplies used by the water systems.
A soft drinks and beverage products company with affirming the denial of class certification in a putative class action lawsuit where the plaintiff asserted consumer fraud and unjust enrichment claims related to the use of saccharin. We defeated the plaintiff’s motion for class certification because the proposed class included countless consumers who suffered no injury by the alleged nondisclosure.
A brewer with product liability advice on a wide variety of subjects, including potential advertising liability, personal injury claims and industry-wide issues involving health and public policy. We also represented the company in a lawsuit filed by a trade association of Belgium brewers that objected to its labels and packaging on certain products. No damages were paid and the case was dismissed.
A chocolate manufacturer with securing summary judgment, after a lengthy seven-year legal battle, in a class action on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of chocolate candy alleging that manufacturers conspired to fix the prices at which they sold chocolate candy in the United States.
A dairy cooperative with obtaining an early and complete dismissal of a consumer fraud and antitrust class action lawsuit regarding allegations of attempted manipulation of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Cheese Spot Call.
An organics company with securing one of the very few dismissals of a qui tam false patent marking case in federal court in Chicago.
An alcohol company in a distributor dispute that was one of the largest cases of its kind. The plaintiff alleged that our client had wrongfully terminated them as a distributor. After successfully defeating the motion for preliminary injunction, the case went to trial on the merits of multiple claims, including novel issues implicated in laws unique to the alcohol industry.
Defeated class certification and successfully moved to dismiss several actions on behalf of a larger company and multiple franchises in litigation that included federal and state court cases throughout the country. In those cases, the plaintiffs alleged that company misled them and the general public regarding the presence of gluten, whey and dairy derivatives in french fries.