GMA Legal Conference 2019


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


  • Monday, March 4th

    9:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration
    9:00 am – 11:00 am

    Pre-Conference Session: Food & Beverage Product Labeling

    Back by popular demand!  Join GMA’s in-house and outside experts as they dive into required upcoming changes for food and beverage product labels. The session will focus on changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) and the requirements of the National Bioengineered Foods Disclosure Standard (Biotech Disclosure Law).


    Jeffrey W. Canavan, MPA, RD, Deputy Director, Labeling and Program Delivery Staff, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

    Allie Graham, MS, RDN, Analyst, Labeling Standards, Grocery Manufacturers Association

    Martin A. Hahn, Esq., Partner, Hogan Lovells

    11:30 am – 12:20 pm

    Conference Kick-Off Luncheon Sponsored by Morrison & Foerster, LLP and Venable, LLP

    12:30 pm – 12:40 pm

    Welcome and Opening Remarks


    Karin Moore, Esq., Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Grocery Manufacturers Association

    Steven Leslie, Esq., Director and Counsel, Legal Affairs, Grocery Manufacturers Association

    12:40 pm – 1:20 pm

    Key Developments in the Food, Beverage, Personal Care, and Household Products Industry

    Paul and Emily will set the stage for the conference by reviewing the major developments, legal and otherwise, for food, beverage, personal care, and household product manufacturers and retailers.


    Paul E. Benson, Esq., Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP

    Emily R. Lyons, Esq., Associate, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP

    1:20 pm – 2:20 pm

    The Top Litigation Developments Every Industry Attorney Should Know

    Most of us already know the recent major decisions and important pending cases for the CPG industry. Instead, this panel will look at broader developments in industry litigation, with a focus on class action, Prop 65, and appellate litigation. Each panelist will provide a direct and focused update on a major litigation development, followed by a discussion of these issues with fellow panelists and taking questions from general audience.


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


    Angel A. Garganta, Esq., Partner, Venable LLP

    Charles C. Sipos, Esq., Perkins Coie LLP

    Cate Stetson, Esq., Partner, Hogan Lovells

    William F. Tarantino, Esq., Partner, Morrison & Foerster, LLP

    2:20 pm – 2:40 pm Networking Break Sponsored by McGuire Woods LLP
    2:40 pm – 3:40 pm

    The Top Regulatory Developments Every Industry Attorney Should Know

    After a short break, this panel will shift gears and cover top industry regulatory issues.   Presentations will focus on major pending issues at both FDA and USDA, trends in cannabis law, and a look at legislative and regulatory developments in California.  Each topic will be followed by a discussion among fellow panelists and Q&A with the general audience.  Planned topics include USDA efforts to create standards of identity for plant based “milk” and “meat,” litigation risks stemming from FDA’s increased use of whole genome sequencing to trace outbreak sources, and increased focus by the California legislature on new labeling requirements for CPG products.


    Cindy Kruger, Esq., Legal Senior Director - Food Safety and Regulatory, Pepsico, Inc.


    Martin J. Hahn, Esq. Partner, Hogan Lovells LLP

    John Packman, Esq. DLA Piper

    Trent Taylor, Esq. McGuire Woods LLP

    Anthony J. Samson, Esq. Arnold & Porter

    3:40 pm – 4:55 pm

    Mock Trial Exercise:  Connecting with Juries and Developing “Good Company” Stories

    Winning a trial often requires getting the jury to understand your company’s story, including its commitment to products that are both safe and affordable. This session will feature a “clopening” argument from a plaintiff’s attorney, followed by defense attorneys providing responding arguments, followed by an argument from a defense attorney, and then a panel discussion on its effectiveness in delivering a “good company” story. NOTE:  The facts of the case will be provided in advance of the session.

    For the Plaintiff:

    Michael R. Reese, Esq., Reese, LLP

    For the Defense:

    Jerry W. Blackwell, Esq., Founder & Chairman, Blackwell Burke


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

    Corey L. Gordon, Esq. Blackwell Burke

    Ani Gulati, Esq., Chief Litigation Counsel, General Mills

    Merrie Jo Pitera, Ph.D., CEO, Litigation Insights

    Hank Turner, Esq., Senior Counsel, Litigation, ConAgra Brands, Inc.

    5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

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

  • Tuesday, March 5th

    7:30 am – 8:20 am

    8:30 am – 9:20 am

    Breakfast (Sponsored by Blackwell Burke P.A.)

    Plaintiff’s Counsel and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs):  Hello from the Other Side…

    If industry learned anything from the great GMO labeling battle, it is that resolution often requires compromise, which in turn requires understanding the opposing viewpoint.  In this session, plaintiff’s lawyers and consumer activists will “cross enemy lines” to share their perspectives on the current major issues in the CPG Industry.


    David T. Biderman, Esq., Perkins Coie LLP


    Maia Kats, Esq., Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP (Formerly with Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI))

    Bill Marler, Esq., Managing Partner, Marler Clark, LLP

    Michael R. Reese, Esq. Reese, LLP

    9:30 am 12:20 pm

    Concurrent Breakout Sessions: 

    Please note we are taking a new approach to breakout sessions in 2019, featuring shorter sessions to cover more topics.  Each presentation will be approximately 15 minutes, with 5 minutes of audience Q&A afterwards.

    9:30 am - 9:50 am

    Room A: Responding to Demand Letters


    Angela M. Spivey, Esq., Partner, Alston & Bird, LLP

    Room B: FSMA: Lingering Hot Topics


    Elizabeth V. Fawell, Esq. Hogan Lovells LLP

    10:00 am - 10:20 am

    Room A: Third Party Litigation Funding


    Kara L. McCall, Esq., Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

    Christine S. Azar, Burford Capital

    Room B: Crisis Management: Balancing Public Messaging against Litigation Risks


    Andrew J. Scholz, Esq., Goldberg Segalla

    10:30 am - 10:50 am

    Room A: Managing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Risk:  Consumer Class Actions


    Hannah Y. Chanoine, Esq., O’Melveny & Meyers LLP

    Room B: Insurance, Seguro, or Versicherung?  Insurance Issues in Cross-Border and Global Food Disputes


    Jonathan M. Cohen, Esq., K&L Gates

    11:00 am - 11:20 am

    Room A: GMO Feed Litigation Update


    Dale J. Giali., Mayer Brown LLP

    Room B: Regulatory Considerations when Launching Innovative Foods:  How Disruptive can you Be?


    Diane C. McEnroe, Esq., Sidley Austin LLP

    11:30 am - 11:50 am

    Room A: Country of Origin/Made in the USA Litigation Update


    Claudia Vetesi, Esq., Morrison & Foerster

    Room B: Green New Deal or Dream?  Environmental Product and Packaging Opportunities and Challenges in the Next Decade


    Ron Y. Rothstein, Esq., Winston & Strawn LLP

    12:00 pm - 12:20 pm

    Room A: Balancing Litigation and Public Relations Strategies when your Class Action Goes Viral


    Matthew G. Ball, Esq., K&L Gates

    Room B: Cannabis Law Trends


    Jessica Wasserman, Esq., Greenspoon Marder LLP

    12:30 pm – 1:20 pm

    Networking Luncheon and Keynote Speaker Sponsored by Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP and Sidley Austin LLP

    Featuring Sharon Mayl, Senior Advisor for Policy at FDA, who will provide updates on key initiatives in the foods area.

    1:30 pm – 2:10 pm

    General Counsel Roundtable Discussion: The Issues that Keeps Us Up at Night

    To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, “It ain’t easy being GC.”  General counsels are tasked with keeping their company out of all legal trouble in a world of ever increasing litigation and regulation.  This panel will feature top industry in-house counsel engaging in a semi-formal discussion of the legal issues they believe are front-and-center for their respective companies.


    Karin Moore, Esq., Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Grocery Manufacturers Association


    Lori Marco, Esq., Senior Vice President, External Affairs and General Counsel, Hormel Foods Corporation

    Beth M. Kotran, Esq., General Counsel and Secretary, North America, Ferrero

    Ellen M. Smith, Esq., Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel Global Business Services, Mondelez North America

    2:10 pm – 3:00 pm

    Best Frenemies Forever: Rocky Relationships between Grocery Stores and Grocery Manufacturers

    Grocery stores need grocery manufacturers, and grocery manufacturers need grocery stores.  But the relationships between food sellers and food manufacturers are often fraught with challenges and disputes.  In this panel discussion, experts in antitrust law, consumer protection, insurance protection, and supply chain and indemnification issues will explore areas of tension between companies that sell products and companies that make them, as well as the legal problems that can arise when things go wrong. 


    Stephen A. Weisbrod, Esq., Founding Partner,  Weisbrod Matteis & Copley, PLLC


    Keri E. Borders, Esq., Partner, Mayer Brown LLP

    Jennings Durand, Esq., Associate Litigation Counsel, Campbell’s Soup Company

    Shane Orians, Esq., Managing Counsel, Meijer

    Ryan C.Tish, Esq., Partner, Crowell & Moring

    Bill Seale, Esq., General Counsel, Bush Brothers & Company

    3:00 pm – 3:20 pm Networking Break Sponsored by Winston & Strawn, LLP
    3:20 pm – 4:10 pm

    Product Testing Program Implementation:  Balancing Transparency and Risks

    Customers have made it clear that they want more transparency from manufacturers, particularly when it comes to what is in products they put in or on their bodies.  However, increased testing of products comes with increased litigation and other risks.  This session will focus on how to balance providing more transparency while protecting your brand.


    James P. Muehlberger, Esq., Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    M. Katie Gates Calderon, Esq., Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    Courtney Ozer, Esq., Associate General Counsel - Litigation, Unilever USA

    Suzanne Werner, Esq., Litigation Counsel, The Coca-Cola Company

    Phil S. Goldberg, Esq., Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP

    4:10 pm – 5:00 pm

    The Future of the CPG Industry

    The 21st Century has already seen drastic change within the food, beverage, personal care, and household product industries. This includes not just increased litigation and regulation, but also dramatically changing consumer preferences and rapid technological developments.  This panel will look past legal issues to broader industry developments, and place bets on the issues we will be dealing with in 2020, 2025, and beyond


    Sarah L. Brew, Esq., Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels


    Francesco Planchenstainer, J.D., Ph.D., Senior Regulatory Counsel, Ferrero

    Trent H. Norris Esq, Arnold & Porter

    Allison Eicher, JD, MLIS, Adjunct Professor, Global Food Law, Michigan State University College of Law

    5:00 pm – 5:15 pm

    Conference Closing Remarks


    Geoff Freeman, CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association

    5:30 pm – 10:00 pm

    Conference Closing Reception, Dinner, and Glow Golf After-Party:  May the COURSE be with You: A Dark Side PAR-TEE

    Sponsored by Arnold & Porter, DLA Piper LLP, Hogan Lovells, and K&L Gates LLP

    This year’s conference closing party will feature glow in the dark mini-golf.  As dinner is wrapping the bars will move to the glow golf “course,” where attendees will be able to test their putting skills while continuing to mingle with colleagues in this fun, interactive event.

    NOTE:  Flat shoes only, no heels allowed on the course.

  • Wednesday, March 6th

    9:00 am – 2:00 pm

    Legal Committee Meeting
    (Invite Only)