Cozen O’Connor: Food & Beverage

Food & Beverage

Recent News:

Cozen O’Connor Oversees Bankruptcy Acquisition of New York-based Luxury Coffee Chain FIKA

Attorney Frederick E. Schmidt, Jr. Guides Senior Secured Lender Through a Complex Chapter 11 Section 363 Sale

More

In an era of heavy regulation, changing consumer demand, labeling disputes, product recalls, and brand vulnerability, Cozen O’Connor provides comprehensive legal services to the food and beverage industry. Our attorneys represent clients operating at every point along the supply chain and involving all product lines — from snack foods to pet foods and from alcoholic spirits to dietary supplements.

Food & Beverage Litigation

  • Complex and multi-jurisdictional class action lawsuits alleging consumer protection law violations.
  • Individual and mass torts alleging contamination or product defects and resulting personal injuries.
  • Hybrid claims combining class action and traditional product liability claims. 
  • Commercial disputes between competitors and among participants in the supply chain. 
  • Crisis management, including regulatory notifications, product retention, and brand protection.

Food & Beverage Regulations

  • Federal regulations promulgated and overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission, and federal import/export authorities.
  • State-based regulations, including California’s Proposition 65 and “Made in the USA” law.
  • Packaging, labeling, branding, product placement, social media, and advertising.
  • Government relations and advocacy at the federal and state level.

Food & Beverage Related Services

  • Intellectual Property handles patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade dress, trade secrets, and domain names.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions negotiates sales and purchases of assets or stock, mergers, joint ventures, consolidations, spin-offs and roll-ups, and recapitalizations.
  • White Collar responds to civil/criminal investigations, enforcement, and prosecutions, including under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act, and criminal antitrust statutes.
  • Employment Litigation defends wage and hour, donning and doffing, discrimination, EEOC, and non-solicit and non-compete claims.
  • Commercial Litigation handles all commercial claims, including contract disputes, business torts, and defamation actions.

We understand the priorities of food and beverage companies, so we know that a positive brand image is in many ways their most valuable asset. Cozen O’Connor handles every deal and every dispute with absolute discretion and a commitment to protecting our client’s brand and hard-earned reputation.

Experience

Publications

What the Food Industry Needs to Know About the New Prop 65 Warning Requirements [Food Safety Magazine]

October 02, 2018

Brett Taylor, a member of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, authored "What the Food Industry Needs to Know About the New Prop 65 Warning Requirements" for Food Safety Magazine.

Power Lunch: Are Your Products Really 'Made in the USA'? [Food Processing]

June 25, 2018

Richard Fama and Brenden Coller, members in the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, published, "Power Lunch: Are Your Products Really 'Made in the USA'?" for Food Processing.

Ninth Circuit Brings Clarity to Made in the USA Labeling [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 16, 2018

Thanks to the California legislature and the Ninth Circuit’s recent unpublished opinion in Fitzpatrick v. Tyson Foods, food manufacturers and distributors in California can label their products “Made in the USA,” even if the products contain certain percentages of foreign-made ingredients or...

'Made In USA' Ruling Reflects New, Looser Calif. Standard

May 08, 2018

Rich Fama and Brenden Coller, members of the firm's Commercial Litigation Department, co-authored, "'Made In USA' Ruling Reflects New, Looser Calif. Standard," for Law360.

California consumers and food manufacturers await key government rules on food labeling. [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

September 01, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are expected to soon issue new regulations regarding the advertising and labeling of food products.  California manufacturers will have to make sure that they not only do not run afoul of those new rules,...

Waiting for the FDA is the Hardest Part, California Federal Judge Rules [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

December 20, 2016

What it means for food to be “natural” has become a topic of contentious debate, and the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) entered the fray earlier this year, requesting comments on use of the term on food labeling. Some courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, have...

FDA takes Kind Approach to “Healthy” Corporate Philosophies [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 25, 2016

This month, FDA showed a willingness to catch up with the recent trends, advancements, and developments in the food and beverage industry by reconsidering years-old regulations regarding products labeled as “healthy.” Kind, a snack food company, was publicly condemned last spring for mislabeling...

GMO Labeling Debates Forge On After Close Senate Vote [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

March 22, 2016

The GMO war rages on after a close vote in the Senate last week addressing proposed voluntary, national standards for GMO labeling.  A 48-49 split means the Senate failed to invoke cloture to bring the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill to vote. The bill, if enacted, would have prevented states...

FDA’s Comment Period for “Natural” Food Labels Is Now Open [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

November 13, 2015

FDA took long-awaited and much-anticipated steps this week to address the requests of both consumers and food manufacturers and producers for guidance and regulation on use of the term “natural.” For years now, consumer litigation alleging false labeling and misrepresentation claims have been piling...

The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act’s Impact [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

July 30, 2015

FDA’s steadfast position against formally addressing “Natural” claims on food products may soon be forced to change if the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which the House of Representatives passed on July 23, 2015, is enacted. The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (“SAFLA”) serves largely to...

Are We Becoming More Social? [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 06, 2015

It goes without saying that there’s been much attention given to the use of social media in litigation.  As litigators, we regularly monitor Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram  and other social media networks to surveille  those who have sued our clients and those that our clients are suing.  In the...

Harsh Words for KIND Bars [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 04, 2015

Kind, LLC received a rude awakening from the FDA when it notified the popular snack-maker that it was violating numerous federal regulations by allegedly misbranding four popular products. Kind is known for its widely-popular snack bars which are marketed as “wholesome,” “tasty,” and “convenient.”...

Lanham Act Claims Are Not Precluded by Compliance with the FDCA [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

August 19, 2014

In POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., (June 12, 2014), the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that companies can bring unfair competition actions under the Lanham Act even when their competitors have complied with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The upshot of the decision is that food...

Raising "Cane" in Labeling Claims [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

July 01, 2014

Class action plaintiffs again allege that the labeling on Chobani’s Greek yogurt violates FDA regulations and misleads consumers, even though a federal court in California dismissed a similar labeling class action earlier this year.  The New York complaint filed in federal court highlights the...

State GMO Labeling Laws: Friend or Foe? [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 29, 2014

Despite Vermont’s passage of its GMO labeling law and other states’ consideration of similar statutes, food manufacturers continue to support uniform federal legislation over the hodgepodge state-by-state approach that is developing. Pessimists among us might say that the FDA has been too slow...

Here We Go Again: Primary Jurisdiction and Deference to FDA [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 23, 2014

We have been here before:  in an attempt to capitalize on the ambiguities and uncertainties in product labeling, the plaintiffs’ bar focuses on phrases and ingredients for which there is little FDA guidance.  Last year, the industry saw many lawsuits relating to whether a food product which...

Leading the Charge: Vermont Mandates GMO Labeling by 2016 [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 13, 2014

While some states have passed GMO-labeling laws which contain a triggering-clause before they go into effect, Vermont has officially become the first state to pass a law, without any triggering-clause, requiring food manufacturers to label food as containing genetically modified organisms...

New York State Takes Another Step Toward GMO Food Labeling Requirement [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

May 08, 2014

New York State has come one step closer to joining other states seeking to require manufacturers to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A-3525, a bill sponsored by New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D), was first introduced in January 2013 and was approved by the...

Defending Food Labeling Claims at the Class Certification Stage: A Recipe for Success [Carrier Management]

May 05, 2014

In an article published in Carrier Management, Richard Fama and Brenden Coller, members of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department, discuss several significant court decisions relating to class certification that give rise to optimism that the tide of the food and beverage labeling lawsuits may be turning in favor of food manufacturers and their insurers.

Cozen O’Connor to Attend Snack Food Association's Legislative Summit [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

March 25, 2014

Cozen O’Connor has been at the forefront of defending consumer class action lawsuits involving food and beverage labeling for years.  On April 9th and 10th we will be taking the fight from the courtroom to Capitol Hill http://www.laviagraes.com/viagra-natural-en-pastillas at the Snack Food...

Putting the IP in IPAs [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

January 30, 2014

As the Super Bowl approaches, you may be thinking about beer: either deciding what to drink during the big game or wondering if a beer commercial will once again be the best ad.  Beer companies are frequently noted for their creativity in naming and marketing their suds.  This creativity has to be...

7th Circuit: Nothing “Loko” About Denying Defense Based on Liquor Liability Exclusion [Food Recall Monitor Blog]

January 15, 2014

In Netherlands Insurance Company v. Phusion Projects, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the insurer of the makers of Four Loko has no duty to defend it in lawsuits alleging the alcoholic beverage caused serious injury and death.  The court affirmed the Northern District Court of...

Horses Are Off The Shelves, But Litigation Will Continue [Law360]

May 06, 2013

Regulators, food distributors and, of course, lawyers are scrambling to determine the legal and reputational consequences of the still-growing horse meat scandal that recently hit Europe.

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

Practical Guidance for the Food Industry for Avoiding False and Misleading Advertising

April 11, 2019 - Chicago, Illinois

Rich Fama will present at the American Conference Institute's Food Law - Regulation, Compliance, and Litigation on how the food industry can avoid false and misleading advertising.

Past Events

Latino Food Symposium 2018

August 20, 2018 - Los Angeles, CA

Meat Industry Summit

April 17, 2018 - San Antonio, TX

ACCEC's 5th Annual Meeting

May 10, 2017 - Chicago, IL

DRI: Product Liability Conference

February 08, 2017 - Las Vegas, NV

DRI Product Liability Conference 2016

February 03, 2016 - New Orleans, LA

In The News

Cozen O’Connor Oversees Bankruptcy Acquisition of New York-based Luxury Coffee Chain FIKA

January 22, 2019

Attorney Frederick E. Schmidt, Jr. Guides Senior Secured Lender Through a Complex Chapter 11 Section 363 Sale

Utz Quality Foods Acquires Inventure Foods

December 15, 2017

Hanover, PA-based Utz Quality Foods completed its acquisition of Inventure Foods in a deal valued at $165 million. Larry Laubach, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Corporate Practice Group, assisted Utz in the transaction.

Food Allergy Lawsuits Can Be a Tough Nut to Crack

July 11, 2016

Richard Fama, vice chair of Cozen O'Connor's General Litigation practice, discusses how food allergy lawsuits can be tough to litigate in the Legal Intelligencer.

Legal Newsline Interviews Brendan Coller on Whole Foods Yogurt Labeling Claim

March 21, 2016

Brendan Coller recently wrote a Cozen O'Connor Products Liability Prevention & Defense blog post, which discusses the claim against Whole Foods Greek yogurt for mislabeling sugar content.

Lori Kalani Discusses Dietary Supplement Industry

January 22, 2016

Lori Kalani, a member of Cozen O'Connor's State Attorneys General practice, discusses last years investigation into the Nutritional Supplement Industry and their steps moving forward.

Contacts

Richard Fama

Vice Chair, General Litigation

rfama@cozen.com

(212) 908-1229

F Brenden Coller

Member

bcoller@cozen.com

(215) 665-5518

Simeon D. Brier

Member

sbrier@cozen.com

(305) 704-5942

David A. Shimkin

Member

dshimkin@cozen.com

(213) 892-7988

People

Related Practice Areas

Upcoming Event:

Practical Guidance for the Food Industry for Avoiding False and Misleading Advertising

Chicago, Illinois 04/11/2019

Rich Fama will present at the American Conference Institute's Food Law - Regulation, Compliance, and Litigation on how the food industry can avoid false and misleading advertising.

Event Details