Tag: Fraud

Bernie Madoff and the Honey Trap (Revised)

Detecting fraud is art, not science.  Harry Markopolos, the man who figured out Bernie Madoff’s fraud well in advance of the regulators, was a competitor of Madoff’s, obsessed with figuring out why Madoff’s results were so stable in all markets.  Because of his obsession, and his instinctive knowledge of those markets, he knew that there … Continue Reading

Defeating a Consumer Fraud Putative Class Case Early

Last week at the DRI products liability conference in New Orleans, Lara White from Adams and Reese and I presented "Regulatory Compliance Alone Is Not Enough: Understanding and Mitigating Consumer Fraud Claims." Our presentation dealt with putative class claims aimed at the marketing and labeling of food products. A link to the slide-deck can be … Continue Reading

Bad Guys Disguised As Good Guys: Labeling and Sourcing Issues at Farmers Markets

One of the first scenes in IFC’s comedy “Portlandia’ involves a couple asking their waitress for the provenance of the chicken they are considering ordering. She comes back with a photograph of “Colin”, the actual chicken, and describes the conditions under which he lived before he died for their meal. Unsatisfied with her answer, they ask … Continue Reading

Strategies to Defeat Putative Class Claims Challenging Labeling and Marketing of Food Products

April 8, 2011 – Scott Rickman from Del Monte, Lara White from Adams and Reese, and I will be talking at the Defense Research Institute (DRI) food law break-out. This event is held in conjunction with the DRI annual product liability conference in New Orleans. Click here for the complete manuscript that we’ve prepared to … Continue Reading

DOJ Pursues Tomato Processors – One Executive Pushes Back

By Guest Blogger Jay Eckhardt On April 29, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had obtained a criminal indictment against the former CEO of SK Foods, Scott Salyer, for his participation in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids in the market for tomato paste. (SK Foods is now owned by Olam … Continue Reading

Difficult Week for the Food Industry (Good Week for the Plaintiffs’ Bar): HVP Salmonella and FDA Warning Letters

The week of March 1 saw a double whammy hit food manufacturers. I. Open Letter to Industry on Marketing Claims First, on March 3, FDA sent warning letters to 16 food manufacturers concerning their labeling practices. FDA also issued an Open Letter to Industry warning against certain practices. For example, FDA warned that: o Nutrient content claims … Continue Reading

One Lesson From Fitzpatrick v. General Mills: Class Cert. Tough To Oppose In Consumer Fraud Cases When Plaintiffs Don’t Have To Demonstrate Individualized Reliance/Causation

Last month Judge Paul Huck of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted in part and denied in part class certification on claims brought in Fitzpatrick v. General Mills. Judge Huck granted class certification on claims asserted under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) but denied class certification for claims … Continue Reading

Consumer Fraud Class Claims Presentation at GMA

In just a couple of weeks (Feb. 23-25), I’ll be in Austin for the GMA Food Claims & Litigation Conference. Let me know if you plan to attend. I’ll be presenting with Scott Rickman from Del Monte Foods on consumer fraud class claims arising from food product labeling and marketing. Anyone in the business of … Continue Reading

Court’s Decision on CR 12(b)(6) Motion In Zupnik: FFDCA Preemption Under Further Attack and Twombly Ignored

We previously cited the motion to dismiss in Zupnik, et al. v. Tropicana Products, Inc. as an example of good pleading practice in a putative consumer fraud class case. United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer apparently disagreed with our assessment, this week issuing an order denying the motion. Tropicana’s lead argument was a failure of … Continue Reading

Consumer Fraud Claims: Examples of Good and Bad Motion Practices

The Good: Tropicana recently brought a motion to dismiss the Zupnik putative consumer fraud class claims pending against it. Zupnik alleges that Tropicana misled consumers in the promotion of its “Pure 100% Juice Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices from Concentrate with other Natural Flavors” because its front label did not include pictures of fruits … Continue Reading

Hurdles Faced By Plaintiffs In Class Action Lawsuit for Sale and Marketing of Cold and Flu Medications Containing Vitamin C

By Guest Blogger Tyler Anderson On November 2, we blogged about the FDA warning letter issued to Procter and Gamble for its unlawful marketing of Vicks cold and flu medications containing Vitamin C. On November 4, 2009, a putative class action lawsuit was filed against Procter and Gamble in the U.S. District Court for the Southern … Continue Reading

Preemption v. Plausibility: Will There Be More or Fewer Successful Consumer Fraud Suits?

Products Liability Law360 ran a piece this week entitled “Suits Over Deceptive Food Marketing Likely To Increase” (unfortunately, this is a subscription-only site) authored by Liz McKenzie. The article discusses rightly how increased FDA enforcement action may lead plaintiffs attorneys to file “piggy-back” putative class actions. For example, it took just 13 days following the … Continue Reading

Sodium Putative Class Action Suits to Become Epidemic?

Following the putative class suit filed last month in New Jersey by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) against Denny’s, a similar suit was filed in Illinois (apparently CSPI is not directly involved in this action). The Illinois complaint can be found here. Like the New Jersey complaint, the Illinois action alleges … Continue Reading

Facts Alleged in CSPI Sodium Suit Incongruent with Claims Asserted

Thought to be the first putative class action against a restaurant chain related to disclosure of sodium content on menus, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed what appears to be a test case against Denny’s. Best guess is the case will fail on its merits (though for CSPI, success in litigation may not be the … Continue Reading

Snapple Decision – FDA’s Policy Concerning Use of “Natural” Not Entitled to Preemptive Effect

High Fructose Corn Syrup Labeling: Opening the Floodgates For Consumer HFCS Claims? The Third Circuit ruled this week in Holk v. Snapple Beverage Corp., reversing the district court and reinstating the state law putative class claims for consumer fraud and breach of warranty for use of the term “all natural” despite the inclusion of high … Continue Reading

Opening the Door to More Litigation Between Food Companies? See POM v. Ocean Spray Decision

False advertising claims under the Lanham Act and corresponding state law claims for food companies can be tough going. Many intersect issues regulated by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). No private right of enforcement of the FDA regulations exists. Only the FDA is allowed to bring a legal action … Continue Reading

Captain Crunch Suit Dismissed: Court Finds No “Actual Fruit Referred to as Crunchberry”

Yes, someone has actually filed a putative class action on the basis that she was “mislead by the packaging and marketing, which she argues convey the message that the Product contains real, nutritious fruit.” U.S. District Judge England in the Eastern District of California dismissed the complaint captioned as Sugawara v. Pepsico, Inc. Though Sugawara seems purely … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Denies Certiorari on Salmon Labeling Case

UPDATE to previous blog entries about the California salmon labeling case (Albertsons v. Kanter) – Just yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.  The Supreme Court’s ruling followed briefing submitted by the Solicitor General (aka Bush Administration). The Bush Administration  argued in support of the California Supreme Court’s  opinion that claims under state law for alleged mislabeling of salmon are not preempted by federal … Continue Reading

Practical Advice for Litigating the Food Case

Click here for the slides from a presentation I gave recently with Shawn Stevens entitled "Practical Advice for Litigating the Case: Retaining Experts, Assessing Damages and Planing Trial Strategy." Two threads of my part of the presentation were organization and relationships (I believe that these were also central to Obama’s campaign hence the campaign log). In … Continue Reading

Lessons from Toxic Rice and Chinese Dairies – Threats From Bioterrorism and Supplier Fraud

Manufacturer fraud and bioterrorism should be on the radar screen for any food producer. Apart from the meltdown in the U.S. financial markets and presidential politics, the big news this week is toxic rice from Southeast Asia and melamine-tainted dairy products from China. Both crises were caused by intentional contamination of food products by raw-materials … Continue Reading
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