GMA Legal Conference 2018


The GMA Legal Conference schedule is subject to change. Please check back frequently for updates!


  • Monday, February 26

    12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

    Legal Committee Meeting

    (Invitation Only)

  • Tuesday, February 27

    8:00 am 11:00 am

    Pre-Conference Session:  Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Implementation – We Haven’t Crossed the Finish Line Yet!
    Elizabeth Fawell, Esq.
    Maile Hermida, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Sharon Mayl, Senior Advisor for Policy
    Jennifer Thomas, Director, Division of Enforcement
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    Even though many of the FSMA compliance dates have now passed, implementation continues and there is still work to be done. Participants in this informative session will learn about where things stand for implementation of each major rule, remaining challenges and opportunities, and FDA’s implementation and inspection priorities. Come join FSMA experts Elizabeth Fawell and Maile Hermida of Hogan Lovells, as well as Sharon Mayl and Jennifer Thomas from the FDA, to learn what your company needs to know to stay on top of FSMA in 2018 and beyond.

    11:30 am 1:00 pm

    Conference Kick-Off Luncheon (Doors Open at 11:15 am)
    Sponsored by Morrison & Foerster, LLP and Venable, LLP

    11:45 am – Noon Welcome and Opening Remarks
    Karin Moore, Esq.
    Steven Leslie, Esq.
    Grocery Manufacturers Association

    Noon 1:00 pm Recent Developments in Food, Beverage, and Consumer Products Law
    Paul Benson, Esq.
    Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP

    Paul Benson will set the stage for the conference by discussing developments and trends in product liability litigation and industry regulations impacting the food, beverage, and CPG industry, as well as providing a preview of issues that are likely to have an impact on the industry in the near future.

    1:30 pm 5:00 pm General Session
    1:30 pm 2:30 pm CPG Litigation Landscape: Key Recent Decisions and Important Pending Cases
    Angel Garganta, Esq. (Moderator)
    Venable LLP
    Chrissy Eisenhard, Esq., General Counsel, DanoneWave
    Monica Johnson, Esq., Assistant General Counsel Ventura Foods, LLC
    Angela Spivey, Esq., McGuireWoods LLP

    This session will provide a thorough review of recent CPG industry class action litigation. This will include recent decisions, what’s at stake in important pending cases, and how both in-house and outside counsel approach class action lawsuits.

    2:30 pm 2:45 pm Networking Break
    2:45 pm 3:45 pm Prop 65 Perspectives:  Managing Increased Regulatory Activity and Litigation Risks
    Jill Bollettieri, Esq., General Counsel, Post Holdings, Inc.
    Bob Falk, Esq., Morrison & Foerster, LLP, Trent Norris, Esq.
    Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

    This session will feature perspectives from regulatory, litigation, and in-house counsel as they look at the increased Prop 65 activity in recent years and offer predictions on what to look out for in 2018 and beyond.

    3:45 pm 4:00 pm Networking Break
    4:00 pm 5:00 pm Roundtable Discussion on Legal Issues for Organic Products
    Marni Karlin, Esq. (Moderator), Karlin Strategic Consulting
    Kim Dietz, Senior Manager – Environmental, Natural and Organic Policy, J.M. Smucker Company
    Thomas A. Evans, Esq., Alston & Bird LLP
    Lindsey Heinz, Esq., Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    The market for organics continues to grow in the U.S., encompassing food, beverage, personal care and household products. This session will provide a comprehensive review of legal issues surrounding organic products.

    5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

    Welcome Reception
    Sponsored by Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP and
    Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC

  • Wednesday, February 28

    7:00 am – 8:00 am

    Sponsored by Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

    8:00 am – 11:50 am

    Breakout Sessions

    8:00 am 8:50 am

    Breakout A:  Recall 360 - Cutting Edge Science and Modern Best Practices
    Arthur S. Garrett III, Esq.
    Christopher Van Gundy, Esq.
    Keller & Heckman LLP

    Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus
    William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor
    Department of Food, Bioprocessing, & Nutrition Sciences
    North Carolina State University

    This session will focus on all aspects of preparing for and handling a recall, including with insights into scientific analysis, best practices in tracing and documentation, insurance coverage issues, and defending and pursuing related litigation.

    Breakout B:  Trends in Consumer Goods Class Action Litigation
    Courtney Ozer, Esq., Unilever USA

    Naoki S. Kaneko, Esq.
    James P. Muehlberger, Esq.
    Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

    As class action litigation rolls on with no signs of slowing down, taking a step back can provide key insights into the future. This session will take a broad look at the types of claims being filed by the Plaintiff’s bar across the consumer goods industry to help companies better anticipate litigation risks.

    8:50 am 9:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Keller & Heckman, LLP

    9:00 am 9:50 am Breakout C:  It’s Raining Cats and Dogs!  Increasing Litigation Against Pet Food Companies
    Hannah Chanoine, Esq., O’Melveny & Myers LLP
    Ron Rothstein, Esq., Winston & Strawn LLP
    Pet Food In-House Counsel TBA

    This session will focus on litigation against pet food brands, including recent lawsuits targeting prescription pet food.

    Breakout D:  Empty Promises or Hollow Accusations?  A Look at Slack Fill Litigation
    Doug Besman, Esq., Senior Counsel – Head of Litigation, Nestlé USA
    Dale Giali, Esq., Mayer Brown LLP

    This session will provide updates on and trends in slack fill litigation across the CPG industry.

    9:50 am 10:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Keller & Heckman, LLP

    10:00 am 10:50 am Breakout E: How to Keep the Customer Happy: Responding to Retailer “Asks” of Grocery Manufacturers
    Michael Steel, Esq., Morrison & Foerster LLP
    Ryan Tisch, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP

    Retailer In-House Counsel TBA

    Big box and internet retailers are facing increased environmental enforcement claims and a hyper-competitive market, and the impact is being felt by manufacturers. This session will focus on how to respond to “asks” by retailers, highlighting what manufacturers should and should not do to avoid landing in legal trouble with regulators.


    Breakout F:  What in the World was He Thinking?  A Look Inside the Mind of a Plaintiff’s Attorney, and How to Respond
    David Biderman, Esq., Perkins Coie LLP
    Daniel Karon, Esq., Karon, LLC

    This interactive session will feature a Plaintiff’s attorney’s insights into the mindset of his colleagues when they file CPG industry class action lawsuits, with a focus on particularly frivolous claims against food and beverage products. It will also include a discussion of the best ways to respond to and/or manage such litigation, with ample opportunities for questions and audience participation.


    10:50 am 11:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Keller & Heckman, LLP

    11:00 am11:50 am Breakout G:  Personal Care and Household Products – Labeling and Litigation
    Anthony Samson, Esq., Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
    Additional Panelists TBA

    In October of 2017, California enacted the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, which will require manufacturers to disclose detailed information on the chemicals in certain cleaning products. This session will review this new law, survey other enacted or pending state labeling laws impacting personal care and/or household products, and discuss what this might mean for litigation against such products.

    Breakout H:  Protecting your Brand during and after False Advertising Litigation
    Corey Gordon, Esq., Blackwell Burk P.A.
    Canaan Himmelbaum, Esq., Advanced Discovery
    Jared Zola, Esq. Blank Rome LLP

    We’ve discussed the cases, the types of claims being made, and even what the other side is thinking. But how do you prep for and win a case, and can you recover any of your losses? This session will focus on litigation preparedness, exposing “junk science” in court, and options for mitigating your losses.

    Noon 1:00 pm Luncheon
    Sponsored by DLA Piper US, LLP and
    Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    1:15 pm5:00 pm General Session
    1:15 pm 2:15 pm Supply Chain Issues in an Increasingly Globalized CPG Industry
    Stephen Weisbrod, Esq. (Moderator),Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC
    Stephanie Fogel, Esq., DLA Piper US, LLP
    Cindy Kruger, Esq., Legal Senior Director - Food Safety & Regulatory, Pepsico
    Ellen M. Smith, Esq., VP & Chief Counsel – North America, Mondelez Global LLC

    As supply chains become more globalized, managing them becomes more complicated. In this session a panel of in-house and outside counsel will provide a comprehensive review of legal issues surrounding international supply chains, including contracting, due diligence, risk management, related litigation, and insurance coverage.

    2:15 pm 2:30 pm Networking Break
    2:30 pm 3:30 pm The Big Picture:  Considering Corporate-Wide Objectives while Fighting Individual Legal Battles
    Jonathan Cohen, Esq., Gilbert LLP
    Martin Hahn, Esq., Hogan Lovells
    Industry CEO and General Counsel Panelists TBA

    When defending a particular lawsuit, or seeking a specific regulatory objective, it’s easy to lose sight of your organization’s broader objectives and goals. This session will discuss how industry manufacturers can balance their overall business, defense, regulatory, and insurance interests when fighting individual legal battles, with a focus on weighing longer-term objectives against more immediate concerns. The discussion will cover concrete lessons learned from the trenches as well as principles of game theory and organization behavioral theory.

    3:30 pm 3:45 pm Networking Break
    3:45 pm 4:45 pm Future CPG Industry Legal Challenges
    Sarah Brew, Esq. (Moderator), Faegre Baker Daniels
    Cate Stetson, Esq., Hogan Lovells
    Additional Panelists TBA

    Finally, we will close out the content for the 2018 conference by discussing potential industry legal challenges on the horizon. This session will focus not only on industry litigation and regulation, but also high level developments in the courts and regulatory agencies that could lead to trickle down effects.
    4:45 – 5:00 pm   

    Conference Closing Remarks
    Karin Moore, Esq.
    Steven Leslie, Esq.
    Grocery Manufacturers Association

    5:00 pm 6:30 pm

    Conference Closing Reception
    Reception Sponsored by Perkins Coie, LLP

    8:00 pm – Midnight Balcony Party at the Royal Sonesta Hotel
    Balcony Party Sponsored by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP,                   McGuireWoods LLP, and Sidley Austin LLP