GMA Legal Conference 2016


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


  • Tuesday, February 23

    2:30 pm - 5:00 pm            

    Pre-Conference Session:  Science 101 for Lawyers
    Jennifer McEntire, Ph.D.
    Vice President, Science Operations

    Martin Hahn, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells, LLP

    In the food, beverage, and consumer products industry, the law is often built on a foundation of science (and hopefully, sound science).   This means that working in this industry requires an understanding of certain scientific concepts.  This 2.5 hour session will focus on those concepts that industry lawyers should understand: toxicology, chemistry, biology, biotechnology, and nutrition science.  These topics will be presented through a series of hypothetical scenarios, along with a few real life case law examples.

    5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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

  • Wednesday, February 24

    7:00 am - 8:15 am

    Sponsored by Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, LLP

    8:15 am - 8:30 am

    Welcome and Conference Overview
    Greg Thompson, Esq.
    Chief Food Law Counsel
    General Mills, Inc.

    8:30 am - 9:30 am

    General Session

    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 to impact the industry in the near future.                    

    9:30 am - 9:45 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Crowell & Moring, LLP
    9:45 am - 10:45 am

    General Session

    The Top 10 Marketing Miscues and How to Avoid Them

    Chris Cole, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring, LLP

    Lesley Fair, Esq.
    Senior Attorney
    Federal Trade Commission

    C. Lee Peeler, Esq.
    Executive Vice President
    National Advertising, Council of Better Business Bureaus

    This distinguished panel will provide a roundup of the ten most common mistakes made by food, beverage, and personal care products marketers which have resulted in actual or threatened liability for false or misleading advertising.  This session will also include practical advice about how to manage these risks in an increasingly complex marketing environment.

    10:45 am - 11:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Crowell & Moring, LLP
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm

    General Session

    The Force Awakens: The Cutting Edge of Antitrust

    Ryan Tisch, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring, LLP

    Stephen P. Safranski, Esq.
    Robins Kaplan, LLP

    Richard Parker, Esq.
    O’Melveny & Myers, LLP

    A record year for regulatory and litigation interventions means that manufacturers are taking a close look at the match between their compliance resources and risks.  Steve Safranski will provide an update on emerging trends and issues in antitrust class actions against the food and beverage industry, and even a few that are being litigated on the industry’s behalf.  The antitrust agency enforcement climate in Washington is as aggressive as it ever has been.  Rich Parker will address recent actions by the FTC and DOJ on mergers, anticompetitive practices and criminal enforcement.   And recent litigation proves that price discrimination and other distribution issues remain relevant.  Ryan Tisch will talk about key antitrust developments in pricing, merchandising, and distribution management.

    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Sponsored by Advanced Discovery and Venable, LLP

    1:10 pm - 4:50 pm Breakout Sessions
    1:20 pm - 2:00 pm

    Prop 65 Update
    Trent Norris, Esq.
    Arnold & Porter, LLP

    Ask Me Anything!  Q&A with TWO Plaintiff’s  Attorneys
    David Biderman, Esq.
    Perkins Coie, LLP

    Anurag “Ani” Gulati, Esq.
    Chief Litigation Counsel
    General Mills, Inc.

    Tim Blood, Esq.
    Blood Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP

    Michael R. Reese, Esq.
    Reese LLP  
    Back by popular demand!  This session will cover food, beverage, and CPG litigation from all perspectives.  In addition to hearing from an in-house counsel and outside defense attorney, two plaintiff’s attorneys will share their thoughts and answer questions related to industry litigation.         

    2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

    Breakout Sessions

    FSMA Update
    Joseph A. Levitt, Esq. (Introductions)
    Hogan Lovells

    James F. Neale, Esq.
    McGuire Woods, LLP

    Ricardo Carvajal, Esq.
    Hyman Phelps & McNamara, PC

    Year in Review:  Update on Labeling, Advertising, and Other Class Action Litigation
    Angel Garganta, Esq.
    Venable LLP

    Dallas Cupp, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel
    Post Holdings

    This session will focus on consumer class action litigation developments in the food, beverage, and supplement industry in 2015-2016.  In addition to summarizing significant case decisions and settlements over the past year, the update will feature several anticipated decisions affecting consumer class action litigation (including decisions by the US Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit), plus developing trends and specific labeling practices drawing the attention of plaintiffs (and their lawyers).

    2:50 pm - 3:10 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Winston & Strawn, LLP

    3:10 pm - 4:00 pm

    Breakout Sessions

    Getting Your House in Order:  All Things  eDiscovery

    Canaan Himmelbaum, Esq.
    Vice President
    Advanced Discovery

    Anne McCray, Esq.
    McGuireWoods, LLP

    Staci Kaliner, Esq.
    Redgrave LLP

    Christine P. Payne, Esq.
    Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

    Nicole Bearce, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel, Litigation
    Unilever United States, Inc.

    This panel will discuss all aspects of eDiscovery, including records management, legal holds, records retention, when and how to prepare your eDiscovery Battle Plan, and the industry impact of recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Attendees will learn how to manage eDiscovery before it manages them, drawing from the real world experience of both in-house experts and outside eDiscovery counsel.
    Potential Criminal Liability for Food, Beverage, and CPG Manufacturers
    Marissel Descalzo, Esq.
    Carlton Fields Jordan Burt, PA

    Douglas A. Fellman, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    4:00 pm - 4:50 pm

    Game Plan: Litigation Preparation and Strategy
    Ann Havelka, Esq.
    Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    Gregory Wu, Esq.
    Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    This presentation will cover ways to win at every stage of litigation - including before it even starts.  The discussion will provide both a broad-brush background of the litigation process for smaller companies facing their first exposure to the adversarial process; and also highlight unique approaches necessary to add value to well-seasoned in-house litigation groups.

    Demonizing Ingredients and the Creation of New Legal Challenges
    Ron Rothstein, Esq.
    Winston & Strawn, LLP

    Angela Puentes-Leon, Esq.
    Carlton Fields Jordan Burt, PA

    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    Sponsored by Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP and Perkins Coie, LLP

    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Gala Dinner
    Sponsored  by Goodwin Procter, LLP

  • Thursday, February 25

    8:00 am - 9:00 am

    Sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP & McGuireWoods, LLP

    9:00 am - 11:55 am Breakout Sessions
    9:00 am - 9:50 am

    A Practical Guide to Recovery for Product Contamination Incidents
    Jonathan Cohen, Esq.
    Gilbert, LLP

    Arthur S. Garrett, Esq.
    Keller & Heckman LLP

    Margo Scher, Esq.
    Vice President
    Aon Risk Services

    Companies facing a contamination event may have claims against insurers, suppliers, and others, which can help pay for resulting claims and losses.  But companies also may have various restraints that present difficult challenges in turning these potential claims into real solutions.  This panel provides a practical discussion of the steps a company should to work effectively with suppliers, customers, and insurers to maximize recovery consistent with its business strategy.

    First Amendment/Compelled Speech Presentation
    Cate Stetson, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Amy Hancock, Esq.
    Senior Vice President and General Counsel
    American Beverage Association

    9:50 am - 10:05 am Networking Break
    10:05 am - 10:55 am

    Breakout Sessions
    Sponsored by Carlton Fields Jordan Burt, PA

    Tackle the IP Challenges Faced by Grocery Manufacturers and Retailers
    Matthew Fedowitz, Esq.
    Merchant & Gould, PC

    Nancy H. Lutz, Esq.
    Merchant & Gould, PC

    Patrick Madigan, Esq.
    Vice President - Business Law
    Albertsons Companies Inc.

    Vicki St. Aubin
    Senior IP Paralegal
    Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC

    This session will feature a lively discussion among in-house and outside legal departments focusing on:  (1) Best practices for obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights; (2) Managing patent and trademark portfolios; and (3) related clearance and licensing issues.

    Diacetyl, Flavorings, and the (Continuing) March of Junk Science
    Corey Gordon, Esq.
    Blackwell Burke, PA

    We will explore recent developments involving diacetyl and artificial flavorings on both the regulatory and litigation fronts, including updates on the return of consumer litigation, regulatory action involving naturally occurring diacetyl,  litigation involving various segments of the food industry, and how these developments might impact food production and risk management in the future.

    10:55 am - 11:10 am      
    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Carlton Fields Jordan Burt, PA
    11:10 am - 11:55 am

    Breakout Sessions

    Developments and Disputes under International Trade Law
    Alejandro Jara, Esq.
    King & Spalding

    This session will examine how to solve food regulation problems via international trade laws, with a particular focus on World Trade Organization (WTO) procedures and its dispute settlement mechanism.         

    Personal Care Products Class Action Update
    Jay Lefkowitz, Esq.
    Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

    Courtney Ozer, Esq.
    Senior Counsel - Litigation
    Unilever United States, Inc.      

    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Sponsored by Hogan Lovells

    1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

    General Session

    Hot Topics Involving Food Industry Suppliers

    Stephen A. Weisbrod, Esq.
    Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC
                                                                                                        E. Desmond Hogan, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Steven B. Steinborn, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Douglas Besman, Esq.
    Senior Counsel - Litigation
    Nestle USA

    Jill Irvin
    General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Business Development
    Bumble Bee Foods

    A panel of in-house counsel and outside attorneys will discuss legal risks and management strategies when dealing with suppliers in the food and beverage industry.  Topics will include legal requirements and practical considerations for performing due diligence on suppliers; potential losses and liabilities from alleged supplier failures (including suppliers’ treatment of their own workers); and strategies for holding suppliers and their insurers accountable for such losses (including techniques for enforcing judgments against foreign companies).

    2:15 pm - 2:30 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

    General Session

    Panel Discussion:  The Industry Impact of Data Breaches and the Importance of Cybersecurity

    Christopher T. Lee, Esq.
    Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    Joshua Katz, Esq.
    Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC

    Marcus Christian, Esq.
    Mayer Brown LLP

    3:30 pm 3:45 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

    Future Legal Challenges in the Food, Beverage, and Consumer Products Industry
    Sarah Brew, Esq.
    Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP

    Steve B. Toeniskoetter, Esq.
    Hormel Foods Corporation                                              

    4:45 pm    

    Closing Remarks and Adjournment

    Karin Moore, Esq.
    Vice President and General Counsel, GMA