2015 GMA Litigation Conference


The GMA Litigation Conference schedule is subject to change. Check back frequently for updates!

  • Tuesday, February 24th
    2:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

    Pre-Conference Labeling Workshop
    Robbie Burns, Ph.D.

    Vice President, Health and Nutrition Policy, GMA

    Sarah Roller, Esq.
    Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

    This workshop will provide a “crash course”
    on labeling issues within the industry. 
    Topics will include: 
    (1) Federal labeling requirements and guidelines
    (2) Misbranding, false advertising, and other
            label-related litigation
    (3) Potential future regulations and

            litigation risks.


    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM  

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

  • Wednesday, February 25th

    7:00 AM - 8:00 AM


    Breakfast Buffet
    Sponsored by Bonner, Kiernan, Trebach & Crociata, LLP

    8:00 AM - 8:10 AM

    Welcome and Opening Remarks
    William Seale, Esq., General Counsel, Bush Brothers & Company

    8:10 AM - 9:10 AM

    Recent Developments in Food, Beverage, and Consumer Product Litigation
    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 related legislation 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.

    9:10 AM - 10:00 AM

    "All Natural" and other Industry Class Action Litigation: Year in Review     
    Angel Garganta, Esq., Venable LLP
    Dallas Cupp, Esq., Post Holdings   

    This session will review recent developments in class action litigation against the food and beverage manufacturers, including updates on “all natural” claims and new litigation aimed at private labels products.   

    10:00 AM - 10:20 AM

    Refreshment Break
    Sponsored by Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC

    10:20 AM - 11:55 AM   Concurrent Breakout Sessions
    10:20 AM - 11:05 AM

    Session A: Consumer Product Litigation Presentation
    Ron Rothstein, Esq.
    Winston & Strawn

    Jaclyn Bryk, Esq.
    Senior Corporate Attorney - Litigation, J. M. Smucker Company

    This session will focus on CPG litigation issues for household products.

    Session B: Recent and Emerging Trends in Foodborne Illness Litigation:  The Risk of Criminal Sanctions are Real
    Chris Lee, Esq.
    Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, PC
    Bill Marler, Esq.
    Marler Clark LLP

    In this session, hear from both a top defense attorney and top plaintiff’s attorney as they take a look at recent and emerging trends in foodborne illness litigation, with a focus on criminal charges filed against corporate officers related to foodborne illness outbreaks.


    11:10 AM - 11:55 AM

    Session C: A Litigator’s E-Discovery Playbook
    Jeff Fowler, Esq.

    O'Melveny & Myers LLP

    Another lawsuit, another costly e-discovery exercise.  You may have a winning defense, but it can come with shocking price tag without an effective strategy for negotiating and limiting the scope of e-discovery.  It might also set the precedent for the scope of discovery in your next case, especially if the same lawyers are involved.  This session will address these trends and discuss ways to protect against the perils of runaway e-discovery.

    Session D: FSMA Update
    Joe Levitt, Esq.
    Hogan Lovells

    This session will take an in-depth look at recent developments in the Food Safety Modernization Act as well as where federal food safety law is headed in 2015 and beyond.

    12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

    Sponsored by Venable LLP and Advanced Discovery

    1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

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

    This session will cover recent developments in Prop 65 legislation and litigation.

    Session F: Ascertaining the “Ascertainable” Case
    Stephen Safranski, Esq.
    Robins Kaplan LLP

    In two short years since the Bayer decision, the unwritten “ascertainability” requirement for class certification has evolved from a minor procedural hurdle into one of the most potent defense weapons available in CPG-labeling class actions. But the courts have taken very different approaches to determining what is an ascertainable class. In this session, Steve Safranski will discuss these different approaches and their implications for manufacturers facing labeling class actions, and will discuss the different strategies that plaintiffs’ lawyers are developing to counter the “ascertainability” defense.

    2:05 PM - 2:50 PM

    Session G: Understanding the Latino Consumer: Trends and Tips for Navigating the Marketing and Regulatory Landscape
    Nilda M. Isidro, Esq.
    Goodwin Procter LLP

    Latino consumers remain one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. and simply cannot be ignored. This session will focus on the latest trends in this diverse market and provide useful tips about its relevant marketing and regulatory issues.

    Session H: Ask Me Anything! Q & A With A Plaintiff's Attorney
    Tim Blood, Esq.
    Blood, Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP

    Christopher Cole, Esq.
    Crowell & Moring, LLP

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

    In this session a plaintiff’s attorney will “cross enemy lines” to answer questions and provide his perspective on food, beverage, and CPG litigation.

    2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

    Refreshment Break
    Sponsored by Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, LLP

    3:10 PM - 4:00 PM

    Early Resolution Strategies for Class Action Litigation
    Jim Muehlberger, Esq. Shook Hardy & Bacon
    Jaclyn Bryk, Esq.
    Senior Corporate Attorney - Litigation, J. M. Smucker Company

    This session will look at early resolution strategies for class action litigation, including Rule 68 offers of judgment, targeted motions to strike class allegations, and early motions for summary judgment.

    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

    Alternative Fee Arrangements and the Relationship Between Companies and Their Outside Counsel
    Stephen Weisbrod, Esq.- Weisbrod Matteis & Copley

    Brooke Tassoni, Esq., Senior Lawyer - Cargill, Inc.
    Carmine Zarlenga, Esq. - Mayer Brown, LLP
    Richard Morgan, Esq. - Bowman and Brooke
    Doug Besman, Esq., Senior Counsel - Litigation Nestle, USA

    This panel of in-house and outside counsel will discuss different types of attorney fee arrangements, including flat fees, contingent fees, and hybrid arrangements that employ features of multiple fee structures.  The panel also will discuss the process of identifying legal matters that are conducive to alternative fee arrangements.  Finally, the panel will offer general observations about the relationships between companies and their law firms, and what clients and outside counsel are doing to improve those relationships.

    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM  

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

    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

    Gala Dinner
    Sponsored by Goodwin Procter LLP

  • Thursday, February 26th
    7:30 AM - 8:30 AM           Breakfast Buffet
    Sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP and
    and McGuireWoods LLP
    8:30 AM - 9:20 AM  

    Evaluating and Spreading the Risks of Food
    Manufacturing and Distribution

    Jonathan Cohen, Esq. - Gilbert LLP
    Bernie Steves - Aon PLC
    Christopher de Wolfe, Director of Risk Management
    Mars, Inc.
    Danielle White, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel – Litigation & Contracts
    Danone North America

    This panel discussion will cover key issues for how
    food and beverage companies identify and transfer
    industry risks, the scope of common food-related business
    risks, pros and cons of commonly used risk management
    tools, types of available insurance, and how to work with
    insurers and indemnitors to address common goals.

    9:20 AM - 10:00 AM

    Can We Work Together - Or Not?
    Ron Levine, Esq., Herrick Feinstein LLP
    Hih Song Kim, Esq., Chief Litigation Counsel
    Colgate - Palmolive

    Many consumer product companies have been the
    target of similar claims involving labeling and/or
    ingredients. While this conference helps educate
    manufactures and their outside counsel about 
    the latest developments in litigation within the industry,
    what happens when companies wish to continue the
    dialogue and coordination afterwards? This

    presentation will highlight the potential privilege,
    ethical, and practical
    concerns which companies
    will confront if and when they work together to
    discuss approaches in defending the claims,
    as well as the challenges when
    turn their sights on each other.


    10:00 AM - 10:20AM

    Refreshment Break
    Sponsored by Gilbert LLP

    10:20 AM - 11:10 AM

    Forecasting the Next Generation
    of Litigation and Regulatory Risks
    Sarah Brew, Esq.
    Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP

    Between new technologies, a changed regulatory
    environment, and the emerging power of consumer
    activist groups, the  food industry is set to face a new
    generation of risks. In this session, Sarah Brew will
    look into her “crystal ball” and discuss potential
    regulatory and litigation risks facing, or soon to be
    faced by, the food industry.  Topics will include
    the increasing role of NGOs, continuing challenges
    to GRAS, emerging technologies (such as
    biofortification, synthetic biology, lab-grown foods,
    and nanotechnology), concerns over food packaging
    materials, and FDA’s changing policies on facility

    11:10 PM - 12:00 PM

    GMO Update: Legislation and Litigation
    Karin Moore, Esq.

    Vice President and General Counsel, GMA
    Charles Sipos, Esq.
    Perkins Coie LLP          

    This session will look at recent developments
    GMO litigation and legislation, including
    First Amendment defenses to attempts at
    mandatory labeling requirements.

    12:00 PM

    Closing Remarks and Adjournment
    Steven Leslie, Esq.

    Director and Counsel, GMA Claims Program