GMA Legal Conference 2017


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


  • Monday, February 27

    9:00 am - 11:00 am

    Pre-Conference Session:  The Future of Industry Labeling

    Martin Hahn, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Kimberly Wingfield
    Director, Science Policy and Labeling Standards
    Grocery Manufacturers Association

    Many changes are on the horizon for how food and beverage companies deliver information to consumers through their labels.  In this session, GMA’s in-house and outside experts will dive into looming updates to the Nutrition Facts Panel, the potential impact of the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, and industry efforts towards a more unified standard for product code dating.

    11:30 am - 1:00 pm

    Conference Kick-Off Luncheon (Doors Open at 11:15 am)
    Sponsored by 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 industry in the near future.

    1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

    General Session

    1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

    Class Action Litigation: Update and Trends

    Angel Garganta, Esq. (Moderator)
    Venable LLP

    Dallas Cupp, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel - Litigation
    Post Holdings, Inc.

    Monica Johnson, Esq.
    Assistant General Counsel
    Ventura Foods, LLC

    Charles Sipos, Esq.
    Perkins Coie LLP

    In this session, both in-house and outside counsel will discuss recently filed class action litigation within the industry, as well as important recent and expected rulings and decisions that will impact both current and future lawsuits. The panelists will also cover the unique issues companies face during litigation against private label products.

    2:30 pm - 2:45 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Gilbert LLP

    2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

    Roundtable Discussion on Marketing and Advertising Law

    Randall Miller, Esq.
    Randall Shaheen, Esq.
    Venable LLP

    Jonathan Cohen, Esq.
    Gilbert LLP

    Christopher Cole, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring LLP

    Beyond class action litigation, there are numerous marketing and advertising legal issues in the Food, Beverage, and CPG Industry.  This discussion will cover a wide range of additional topics, including recent FTC activity, product disparagement claims between competitors, and insurance coverage issues for marketing and advertising litigation risks.

    3:45 pm - 4:00 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Gilbert LLP

    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    The Present and Future of Prop 65:  360 Degree Review

    Sarah Esmaili, Esq.
    Anthony Samson, Esq.
    Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer, LLP

    Michael Green, MS, MPP
    Chief Executive Officer
    Center for Environmental Health (CEH)

    Carol J. Monahan Cummings, Esq.
    Chief Counsel
    Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)

    This session will look at the present and future of Prop 65 from the perspectives of defense, plaintiff, and California state government attorneys.

    5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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

  • Tuesday, 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 Session A: The Cure for FSMA Fatigue

    Maile Hermida, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    John F. O'Brien III
    McGuireWoods LLP

    John Luedke, Esq.
    General Counsel Global Food Law
    Mars, Incorporated

    Now that the first compliance dates for FSMA regulations have passed, the focus has shifted from preparation to implementation.  This session will feature first-hand accounts from attorneys on the FSMA “front lines,” and will include both lessons learned so far from FDA enforcement and predictions on what to expect under the Trump Administration.

    Breakout B:  Lessons Personal Care and Household Product Companies can Learn from Food Industry Litigation Battles

    Ron Levine, Esq.
    Herrick Feinstein

    Hannah Chanoine, Esq.
    O’Melveny & Myers, LLP

    Hih Song Kim, Esq.
    Senior Vice President, General Counsel
    Stoli Group

    Class action plaintiff’s attorneys who have been targeting food and beverage manufacturers are now directing their fire toward personal care and household products, raising many similar claims and issues. What lessons can non-food manufacturers learn from the battles which have been fought by the food manufacturers during the past ten years?

    8:50 am - 9:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
    9:00 am - 9:50 am

    Breakout C:  Navigating New Waters In International Supply Chains

    Christopher Van Gundy, Esq.
    Keller and Heckman, LLP

    Christopher Loeber, Esq.
    Lowenstein Sandler LLP

    Alice Tseng, Esq.
    Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

    The internationalization of commerce and complex multi-national supply chains has increased regulatory hurdles and litigation exposure for food industry manufacturers and distributors.  Presenters will discuss current issues affecting transnational supply chains, including the Foreign Supplier Verification Program under FSMA and the recently released proposed regulations for the Safe Food for Candians Act.  The session will also provide a high-level overview of how insurance can be used to mitigate the risks of doing business overseas.  Essential practice points will be reviewed as well.

    Breakout D:  eDiscovery Competence:  Are you putting yourself at Risk?  What Level of Risk are you willing to Take?

    Canaan Himmelbaum, Esq.
    Advanced Discovery

    Jeff Fowler, Esq.
    O’Melveny & Myers, LLP

    Technical and legal experts will discuss the ever-changing legal standards, the intersection of cybersecurity threats and discovery, and will offer practical tips for ensuring that you and your outside counsel are strategically and technically prepared for the pitched battle of modern document discovery.

    9:50 am - 10:00 am Networking Break
    Sponsored by Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
    10:00 am - 10:50 am

    Breakout E:  Antitrust Concerns in Retailer Interactions

    Ryan Tisch, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring LLP

    Stephen Safranski, Esq.
    Robins Kaplan LLP

    Joseph Fielder, Esq.
    Director, Corporate Law & Compliance

    This session will look at slotting arrangements, category management, Robinson-Patman Act issues, and everything else in-house counsel need to know about navigating antitrust minefields when dealing with retailers.

    Breakout F:  Fighting Back against Class Action Litigation

    Corey Gordon, Esq.
    Blackwell Burke PA

    Daniel Karon, Esq.
    Karon, LLC

    Trent Taylor, Esq.
    McGuireWoods LLP

    Join three top class action attorneys, two on the defense side and one plaintiff’s attorney, as they discuss their experiences litigating class action cases.  The session will focus on successful early strategies for defeating meritless class action litigation and how to deal with the other side.

    10:50 am - 11:00 am

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Shook Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    11:00 am - 11:50 am

    Breakout G: The Importance of Cybersecurity in the CPG Industry

    Stephen Lilley, Esq.
    Mayer Brown LLP

    Ron Rothstein, Esq.
    Winston & Strawn, LLP

    Jared Zola, Esq.
    Blank Rome LLP

    This session will look at cybersecurity problems facing the food, beverage, and consumer products industry, including perspectives on regulatory, litigation, and insurance coverage issues.

    Breakout H: Present and Future Attacks on Ingredients

    Angela Puentes-Leon, Esq.
    Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

    Michelle Gillette, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring LLP

    Consumer interest groups, plaintiff’s attorneys, federal regulators, and state and local governments often target particular ingredients with claims they are “bad” for consumers.  Even when such claims are largely unsupported by science, such attacks have severe ramifications for the CPG industry.  This session will look at recently targeted ingredients, such as sodium and added sugars, as well as look at what ingredients may be targeted in the near future.

    Noon - 1:00 pm

    Sponsored by DLA Piper

    1:15 pm - 5:00 pm

    General Session

    1:15 pm - 2:15 pm

    Ethical Considerations Facing In-House and Outside Counsel during a Product Recall Crisis

    Stephen Weisbrod, Esq. (Moderator)
    Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC

    Doug Besman, Esq.
    Senior Counsel, Head of Litigation
    Nestle USA

    Martin Hahn, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    Cindy Kruger, Esq.
    Legal Senior Director - Food Safety & Regulatory

    Carmine Zarlenga
    Mayer Brown LLP

    2:15 pm - 2:30 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

    Of Handcuffs and Hamburgers:  As DOJ Increases Its Focus on the Food Industry, How Your Company (and You) Can Avoid Being Criminally Prosecuted

    Douglas A. Fellman, Esq. (Moderator)
    Hogan Lovells

    R. Leland Evans, Esq.
    Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    Stefanie Fogel, Esq.
    DLA Piper US, LLP

    The Department of Justice has made it clear:  criminal investigation and prosecution of companies and individuals in the food industry is no longer theoretical.  It is happening.  This session will bring you up to date on the ways DOJ and FDA are interpreting and enforcing the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act criminally; what is actually happening out of public view and behind the locked doors of federal grand juries; the kinds of circumstances and conduct that are embroiling even the best of companies in criminal investigations; legal risk to individuals and how to mitigate the potential criminal exposure of your corporate executives and employees (and you); and how political change in Washington may affect criminal enforcement trends.

    3:30 pm - 3:45 pm

    Networking Break
    Sponsored by Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    3:45 pm - 4:45 pm

    Future Industry Legal Challenges

    Sarah Brew, Esq. (Moderator)
    Faegre Baker Daniels

    Timothy G. Blood, Esq.
    Blood Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP

    Marsha A. Echols
    Professor of Law, Howard University
    Director, The World Food Law Institute

    Greg Thompson, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel, Chief Food Law Counsel
    General Mills, Inc.

    Steve Toeniskoetter, Esq.
    Senior Attorney
    Hormel Foods Corporation

    After a day and a half of looking at current and near-future legal issues, Sarah Brew will lead a group discussion on potential future litigation and regulatory issues, with a particular focus on the potential impact of the Trump administration.

    4:45 pm - 5:00 pm

    Closing Comments and Adjournment

    Karin Moore, Esq.
    Steven Leslie, Esq.
    Grocery Manufacturers Association

    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Conference Closing Reception and Dinner
    Reception Sponsored by Perkins Coie, LLP and Hogan Lovells
    Dinner Sponsored by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP and Goodwin Procter, LLP
  • Wednesday, March 1

    8:30 am - 1:30 pm

    Legal Committee Meeting
    Room: TBA