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Practices

Complex Litigation

Complex Litigation

We have represented companies facing complex commercial disputes at trial and well before trial in dispute resolution methods. Our broad experience includes complex commercial disputes, product and toxic tort defense, employment defense, antitrust, consumer fraud, trade secret disputes, and more. In litigation, our lawyers have often represented Fortune 100 companies, large government entities, along with smaller, closely-held corporations. In many instances, we help clients position the case for a favorable and early disposition. When settlement is not feasible or not the right strategy,  we try cases in state and federal courts and before juries and judges.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm

  • Lead counsel for City of Chicago in multi-billion dollar contract dispute filed against the City to stop O’Hare Airport Modernization Program. After litigation, case settled favorably by continuation of the O’Hare Program.
  • Lead counsel in commercial dispute over liability for thousands of underlying tort claims recently arising out of the operation of a business that was acquired and later resold through a series of corporate mergers and transactions. Successful no liability judgment, affirmed on appeal.
  • Lead counsel representing private equity and financial services companies in breach of contract case over purchase of and investment in a portfolio company, with successful settlement of the dispute.
  • Lead counsel in toxic tort actions alleging that chemical emissions caused cancer, wrongful death and other serious personal injuries to children in the community. Highly favorable settlement and dismissal of claims after expert discovery.
  • Lead counsel for pharmaceutical manufacturer in multi-national dispute over supply of contaminated pharmaceuticals. Litigation in U.S. and Great Britain; dispute resolution in U.S. and Japan.
  • Lead trial counsel and appellate counsel representing a manufacturer of the anti-miscarriage drug, diethylstilbestrol. Resulted in coverage of defense costs and indemnities for over 1500 diethylstilbestrol personal injury cases, in a trial result affirmed by the California Supreme Court in the first decision by the Court regarding lost insurance policies.
  • Lead counsel in a claim for hurricane damages. Obtained a declaratory judgment that a windstorm exclusion did not apply to the insured's business interruption losses and the court awarded full coverage for the losses.
  • Lead trial counsel in insurance disputes filed in Michigan and Illinois over coverage of an Illinois jury's award of $124 million in punitive damages involving use of a prescription pharmaceutical, obtaining judgment covering both punitive and compensatory damages.
  • Lead counsel for trials in Philadelphia and Denver for a significant private equity fund involving issues of fiduciary duty to creditors and claims of alter ego and fraud. Both trials resulted in defense verdicts for clients.
  • Represented a major foreign automobile manufacturer in a multiple death case resulting in complex multi-district litigation in the United States and achieved successful dismissal on jurisdictional grounds.
  • Member of national trial team for a major chemical company in breast implant litigation; prepared expert defenses in toxicology, epidemiology and company history.
  • Member of national trial team for tobacco litigation in RICO and consumer fraud case brought by an asbestos trust. Work included preparation of offensive case concerning the history of asbestos litigation and settlements.
  • Defended manufacturer of toilet bowl cleaners against consumer fraud class actions in California, Illinois and Florida alleging damage to rubber and plastic parts from product.
  • Defended simultaneous nationwide and state class actions and individual actions alleging defective building product. Developed successful procedural strategy and coordinated proceedings before the Multi-district Litigation Panel, resulting in defeat of nationwide class certification in federal court.
  • Defended landmark aggregated actions by asbestos companies/Trusts and medical recoupment actions by state attorneys general involving novel and developing legal theories. Second chaired seven-week trial on behalf of tobacco company. Mistrial followed by plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissal.
  • Defended and resolved breach of contract and tortious interference claims by former employee after obtaining ruling precluding plaintiff's damages expert from trial.
  • Lead Counsel representing manufacturer/importer in a royalties and merger contract dispute, successfully resolved through mediation conducted under auspices of the court.
  • Trial counsel for global pharmaceutical company in federal trial of employment discrimination/off-brand marketing issues, resulting in defense verdict on all claims, Northern District of Illinois.
  • Lead counsel defending class action over purported fraud in the sale of online education programs, Circuit Court of Cook County.
  • Regional counsel/trial counsel in defense of multiple personal injury cases involving first-in-class treatment for diabetes. Focus on developing scientific defenses to under Frye/Daubert criteria, depending on jurisdiction. Cases filed in state and federal courts throughout Illinois.
  • Conducted multi-day Temporary Restraining Order hearing in cell phone dealer suit to prevent termination of dealer agreement. Case settled.
  • National coordinating counsel for contraceptive litigation. Cases involved trials in federal and state courts with defense verdicts/favorable settlements and defeat of plaintiff's attempt to obtain an MDL.
  • Successfully defended a university through appeal in an action filed by a student athlete who suffered a cardiac condition requiring an implantable defibrillator and was denied participation by the team physician in NCAA Division I basketball in a claim brought under the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Represented municipality and police officers in high profile § 1983 civil rights and Americans With Disabilities Act case.
  • Defense of life insurers in breach of contract and bad faith litigation resulting from alleged mismanagement of policies used as partial investment vehicles.
  • Representation of debtor corporation in Chapter 11 filing and reorganization, including participation in contested confirmation hearing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana resulting in court approval of client's $1.5 billion plan of reorganization.

Compliance

Compliance & Corporate Governance

Our lawyers also counsel clients on how to establish and implement corporate governance programs, and how to improve business ethics compliance programs to avoid future risks. As part of our compliance practice, we are well-versed in crisis management and advising boards and individual directors with respect to their legal obligations and duties as directors. We bring tailored experience for FDA-regulated companies and the extra compliance issues concerning them. We have a full service antitrust practice that can assist by helping design business operations of all sizes to maximize opportunities while avoiding practices that would be risky or excessively conservative.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm

  • Preparing resolution for board of directors of publicly held company regarding compliance oversight obligation.

  • Assisting with creation of job description for chief compliance officer of industrial manufacturer.
  • Revising antitrust compliance policy for financial services company after major antitrust litigation.
  • Creation of policy and compliance program to address risks created by UK Bribery Act for financial industry firm.
  • Creation of training program for medical device company to satisfy requirements of FTC consent decree.
  • Review of compliance program of internet marketing company as part of FTC litigation.
  • Serving as corporate monitor appointed by FTC to ensure compliance with FTC consent decree imposed on major consumer products company.
  • Review of compliance program of gaming company, with recommendations for revisions to corporate compliance committee.
  • Review of investigation and reporting procedures for major industrial manufacturer.
  • Creation of improper payments compliance program for diversified global manufacturer.
  • Benchmarking of compliance staffing and recommendations for department organization for major consumer packaged goods company.
  • Revisions of corporate code of conduct for major consumer products company.
  • Development of risk assessment protocol for major consumer products company.
  • Revision to compliance and business controls program for industrial company after SEC investigation.
  • Review of corporate social responsibility practices for major consumer packaged goods company to assist with 3rd party certification.
  • Preparation of compliance program, including code of conduct, hotline system, board reporting, and investigation protocol for health services company.

    Serving as compliance monitor for Canada Competition Bureau with regard to two major airlines.

    Developing and delivering antitrust training for major food manufacturer.

    Reviewing antitrust compliance program in the aftermath of US and international litigation for leading electronic component manufacturer.

    Review of commercial antitrust training programs for consumer products company.

    Review of compliance policies, including use of social media, for major food manufacturer.

    Creation of antitrust compliance program for major processor of recycled metals.

    Review of compliance website, policies, and training for major consulting firm.

    Creation of anti-harassment compliance program, including policy, training, and management messages, for major retailer.

Antitrust

Antitrust

Antitrust enforcement by federal and state prosecutors – and private litigants -- continues without pause.  New technology, new products, new ways of doing business all have introduced new risks that must be considered.  No business can afford to ignore the antitrust laws no matter the size or industry.

We can assist companies in understanding their antitrust risks in every area.  On the counselling side, we can help analyse business practices to minimize the antitrust risks.   We can assist in every aspect of product distribution, including the development of business plans that protect the interests of manufacturers and distributors.  If advertising or promotion programs are used, we can ensure that the complex price discrimination rules of the Robinson-Patman Act and other laws are followed.  If structured improperly, the Clayton Act may prohibit exclusive dealing contracts, or marketing programs that tie the sale of one product to another.  We have extensive experience in negotiating supply or distribution contracts that achieve business goals without violating the antitrust laws.

Companies face potential criminal antitrust liability under the Sherman Act any time they deal with competitors.  Therefore, it is important to conduct an antitrust review before joining a trade association, or participating in an industry-wide activity.  Any sort of joint selling or joint purchasing program may give rise to significant antitrust liability if handled improperly; but if structured to comply with the laws it can yield significant business benefits.  Even activities like checking with competitors about salaries or exchanging price lists may be a serious antitrust violation, yet a simple review can eliminate the most significant risks.

Joint ventures, and acquisitions or divestitures of businesses may face antitrust restrictions depending on the size of the transaction and the geographic and product markets impacted.    We have extensive experience in analysing the risks of such transactions, and structuring the transaction to have the greatest likelihood of success.  We are also familiar with the regulatory process that requires premerger notification with the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice in the United States, and we work with our  clients to expedite clearance through the review process wherever possible.

If a client faces a consent agreement or decree in the aftermath of an antitrust matter, we can assist in structuring a compliance program to satisfy government requirements.  We have worked both as outside counsel and counsel to the government, and understand what programs actually work and what the government expects.

Our experience with antitrust litigation also provides benefits to clients who are either defending those types of cases or have an interest in filing their own claim as a victim of an antitrust violation, either by filing an independent law suit or opting-out of a class action.  Both in litigation and regulatory proceedings, we are experienced in working with industrial organization economists to present the most compelling case using state-of-the-art economic analysis tools, and managing damage claims to the maximum benefit of our clients.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm

  • Antitrust litigation and counseling in a variety of industries, including consumer packaged goods, hospitality, vitamins, trade associations, food distribution, optical devices, dairy, chemicals, beer, electronics distribution, and insurance.
  • Initiation of “opt-out” plaintiff cases in Corrugated Container, Folding Carton, Citric Acid, Vitamin, Liquid Carbon Dioxide antitrust and other cases, with recoveries far in excess of class amounts.
  • Successful counseling of dozens of distributor terminations that resulted in recovery of balances due without significant business disruption or filing of litigation.
  • Successful defense of challenge to acquisition of consumer appliance company through Court of Appeals affirmance.
  • Successful defense to challenge to participation in state industry regulatory scheme through denial of certiorari.
  • Successful management of acquisitions and divestitures through administrative review (including “Second Requests”) by the FTC and Department of Justice.
  • Successful defense of purported class action under California state antitrust law alleging price fixing in dairy industry.
  • Successful defense of purported class action under Sherman Act alleging price fixing in chemical industry.
  • Successful defense of case alleging illegal vertical restraints due to distribution restrictions.
  • Successful defense of case alleging resale price maintenance based on pricing programs designed to respond to competitive bidding situations.
  • Successful defense of cases alleging violation of Robinson-Patman Act (price discrimination) based on promotional programs for new dealers, meeting competitive offers, geographic pricing, and functional discounts.
  • Counseling of clients to successfully develop purchasing consortia.
  • Developing antitrust compliance programs, including live training, computer-based training, podcasts, policy development, antitrust audits, social-networking tools, and risk assessment.
  • Counseling trade associations on proper antitrust policies and procedures.
  • Counseling consumer packaged goods companies on antitrust compliance for marketing, sales, promotion, and distribution programs.
  • Counseling on creation of advertising and promotional programs under the Robinson-Patman Act.

Employment

Employment

We offer a full service employment law practice to companies and executives, including counseling on employment law and human resource matters, advice and counsel concerning restrictive covenants and employment agreements, and defending single plaintiff and complex employment law litigation. We also provide nationally-recognized counsel and defense concerning workplace health and safety law and defend workplace tort claims.

Counseling

We counsel employers on a variety of issues, including equal employment opportunity laws, employee discipline and termination, leaves of absence, privacy and social media laws, wage and hour compliance, restrictive covenants, and reductions in force. We can develop, draft, revise and implement personnel practices and policies in such areas as sexual harassment and discrimination, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, employee discipline and terminations, and social media communications, among others. 

The firm counsels employers on a wide variety of employment and human resources issues, including:

  •  Equal employment opportunity laws and workforce diversity
  •  Employee discipline and termination
  •  Reductions in force and workplace restructurings
  •  Leaves of absence and the interplay of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the ADA and Short Term Disability
  •  Privacy and social media
  •  Workplace violence
  •  Wage and hour compliance
  •  Restrictive covenants and employment agreements
  •  Occupational safety and health
  •  Epidemic and pandemic responses 

Investigations

The firm has extensive experience in conducting routine as well as highly sensitive investigations for clients involving issues of gender, race and ethnicity harassment, employee fraud, whistleblowing or other possible wrongdoing by employees or executives.  The firm is able to provide clients with cost effective assistance in drafting, revising and implementing personnel policies and frequently provides training for clients – including CLE training – in all of these areas. 

Litigation

Consistent with the goals of many of our clients, we aim to achieve the best early resolution of employment disputes. If necessary, we are ready and able to represent our clients in litigation and at trial. We have significant experience defending employers in federal and state courts, and administrative agencies. We have represented employers pre-litigation and throughout litigation including disputes involving claims brought under Title VII, Section 1981, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act and the other state and federal discrimination laws and common law tort and contract workplace claims, such as defamation, wrongful discharge, trade secrets violations, intentional infliction of emotion distress and restrictive covenants.  Our lawyers have significant experience in successfully defending class actions on behalf of clients, including large race, disability and gender discrimination class actions, with outcomes including defeat of class certification, full wins or favorable settlements for clients.  Using the most up-to-date litigation management technologies and careful staffing, the firm is able to provide top of the line defenses for its clients’ complex employment litigation.

Workplace Safety

With the addition to the firm of one of the nation’s preeminent OSHA practitioners, we offer a broad range of workplace health and safety counseling and defense, backed by extensive experience throughout the country with federal OSHA at the Area, Regional and National Office levels as well as with many of the state plans.  The firm assists clients in developing OSHA compliance programs, performing incident investigations, conducting privileged audits of client programs and providing training for clients’ attorneys and safety and health staff.  We have a deep experience representing employers in OSHA and state plan enforcement proceedings from the inspection, through the informal conference and through all phases of a contest, including discovery, settlement negotiations, hearings and appeals to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the federal courts of appeal.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm 

  • Lead counsel for a major central bank in race discrimination class action under Title VII and Section 1981 involving putative class of over 700 current and former employees. Class certification denied and summary judgment on the merits. 

  • Lead counsel in a disabilities discrimination class action brought by the EEOC against a large global manufacturer involving a putative class of more than 100 applicants rejected as a result of a post-offer/pre-placement nerve conduction test.  Summary judgment for client following exclusion of the EEOC’s critical expert on Daubert motion.

  • Lead counsel for a well-known technology company in an age discrimination class action lawsuit.  Class certification defeated, and won as to two plaintiffs on summary judgment.

  • Co-lead counsel in a four plaintiff racial profiling section 1981 lawsuit against a major national pharmacy chain.  Total defense verdict after trial.

  • Lead counsel in a sex harassment case brought by a former general counsel against the Chicago Transit Authority and its former president. Following a high profile jury trial, defendants won on all counts.

  • Lead counsel for a well-known appliance manufacturer in an age discrimination collective action brought by the EEOC and an intervenor plaintiff alleging discrimination against salespersons over the age of 50 through company reorganizations.  Case was successfully settled.

  • Co-lead counsel in a 56 plaintiff age discrimination collective action in the state court of West Virginia against a foreign-owned chemical company and six individual manager defendants.  Case was successfully settled.

  • Lead counsel for a manufacturer in an age discrimination collective action involving 108 employees reduced in force at two upstate New York plants. As a result of vigorous precertification discovery, the class asked to settle in lieu of litigating class certification.

  • Lead counsel for a national technology equipment manufacturer in a products liability case brought by four plaintiffs alleging that the defendant’s equipment gave them carpal tunnel syndrome. After a weeklong trial involving extensive medical and ergonomics expert testimony, the jury returned a verdict for the defendant company.

  • Lead counsel for a well-known bakery company in a seminal ergonomics case brought by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. After a seven week hearing in which virtually all of the country’s medical and ergonomic experts on repetitive motion issues were witnesses, he employer won all of the repetitive motion issues.

  • Successfully defended a major pharmaceutical company at trial against age discrimination claim brought by sales representative. Won complete defense verdict. 
  • Successfully defended corporation against breach of employment contract and ERISA claims brought by two former top executives.
  • Regularly investigate and respond to employment discrimination complaints lodged at the EEOC.
  • Review and analyze all non-disclosure, non-solicitation and non-compete agreements of incoming executive-level candidates for international consulting firm.
  • Provide regular, wide-ranging employment law advice and counsel to a global consulting firm with over 50,000 employees in North America.  Advice provided covers discrimination law, wage and hour regulations, hiring and termination inquiries, and many other aspects of employment law.

Life Sciences

Life Sciences
(Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Biologics, Animal Feed)

Our Practice for companies in the life sciences offers an unusual combination of depth in industry knowledge and scientific expertise. Our firm includes lawyers with advanced doctoral and medical degrees, direct experience with designing, implementing and reporting on clinical and laboratory research in areas of medicine, psychiatry and psychology, and advanced training in clinical trials. Members of the Practice are well recognized for their legal work in areas of medicine, psychology, toxicology and epidemiology.

Our lawyers bring the experience and understanding gained in hundreds of major client representations, successfully presenting legal and factual issues to juries and judges in ways that are both understandable and persuasive. Our lawyers have represented companies in product, toxic tort, mass tort and class action defense, disputes over divestiture and acquisition agreements, distribution and supply agreements, insurance agreements, successor liability, employment, collaboration agreements, laboratory agreements, research agreements, trademark, licensing,  and advertising.  

In product liability and toxic tort litigation, we have represented companies facing claims across dozens of different medications, types of chemical exposure and types of injury. We have been retained in cases involving death, severe birth defects, neurologic and CNS injury, rheumatologic diseases, liver, blood and kidney injury, cancers and more. We have developed expert defenses based on a wide range of specialties in medicine, psychiatry, epidemiology, toxicology and chemistry.

We team well with other firms and have played specialty roles in large-scale litigation (such as Science Counsel). Our work often involves the use of sophisticated demonstrative aids, mock juries, and the interpretation for lay people of complicated expert scientific testimony.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm: Litigation

  • Lead counsel in toxic tort actions alleging that chemical emissions caused cancer, wrongful death and other serious personal injuries to children in the community. Extensive work on epidemiology and toxicology defenses, leading to successful pre-trial settlement.
  • Lead Counsel in corporate contract dispute over successor liability for thousands of underlying personal injury tort claims in jurisdictions across the U.S., arising out of product made by a predecessor company, obtaining summary judgment of no liability for our client.
  • Lead Counsel in multi-forum corporate dispute over supply of contaminated chemical and international sales of bulk pharmaceuticals to customers in U.S., Great Britain, Japan and other countries, with successful recovery of damages, partial attorneys' fees and preserving customer relationships for the client.
  • Counsel for multinational chemical company defending breast implant litigation (personal injury class action and individual cases), with development of generic, case-specific and expert defenses.
  •  Lead counsel in substantial insurance disputes for defense and indemnity costs, including litigation over thousands of underlying personal injuries arising from use of a prescription product in pregnancy, over hurricane damage to company facilities, and over a personal injury verdict of $124 million in punitive damage, each resulting in coverage for our clients after pre-trial or trial rulings.
  • Counsel for manufacturer in multi-million dollar "toxic mold" case brought by a Texas school district. Suit was settled for less than 10% of the amount claimed million one day after Robinson/Daubert argument.
  • Served as outside counsel for a major university-based medical school in complex litigation involving a wide variety of specialties of its faculty members.
  • Counsel for multinational chemical company defending breast implant litigation (personal injury class action and individual cases), developed generic, case-specific and expert defenses.
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in a third party product liability action filed by certain hospital and nursing defendants involving failure-to-warn allegations against anti-stroke medication.  After deposition discovery, obtained pre-trial dismissal with prejudice of all claims.
  •  Lead Trial Counsel and appellate counsel in obtaining defense and indemnity  coverage for pharmaceutical client facing hundreds of underlying personal injury claims made on account of alleged improper marketing of a prescription medicine and use in pregnancy.
  • Lead defense counsel in over 100 pharmaceutical or device actions, involving serious illnesses and/or death, with expert defenses from multiple fields of medicine, psychiatry, epidemiology and toxicology. Cases filed in state and federal courts throughout Illinois.
  • Lead Science Counsel for development of medical defenses in a set of personal injury claims arising from purported ground water contamination of volatile organic chemicals.
  • Lead Science Counsel in multiple product liability and toxic tort engagements in different state jurisdictions. Some matters involved developing a package of science-based defenses in advance of anticipated litigation. Other matters involved developing scientific expert defenses for ongoing litigation and in coordination with firms playing different litigation roles in defending a mass tort or consumer fraud claims.
  • Regional counsel/trial counsel in defense of multiple personal injury cases involving first-in-class treatment for diabetes. Focus on developing scientific defenses to under Frye/Daubert criteria, depending on jurisdiction. Cases filed in state and federal courts throughout Illinois.
  • National coordinating counsel for manufacturer of vaccines administered to children. Developed and implemented successful strategy for early disposition of dozens of cases in jurisdictions across the country. Case filed nationally over 60 state and federal courts.

Representative Matters by Lawyers in the Firm: Counseling

  • Risk assessment and risk management.  Counseling for products in development and marketed products, to determine risks of litigation by consumers, patients, commercial partners and other parties, and to counsel on methods of minimizing or disposing of litigation risks.
  • Advertising and Labeling.  Counseling on compliance with advertising and labeling laws; assisting in development of accepted standards for environmental claims on products; ensuring compliance with children’s advertising rules; counseling on funding for cooperative advertising programs.
  • Distribution and Sales.  Drafting distribution or  brokerage agreements; advising on compliance with state franchise and broker laws; advising on termination of distributors or brokers; dealing with bootlegging and counterfeiting of products; establishing exclusive dealing and distribution arrangements; negotiating import and export quotas.
  • Marketing, Merchandising, and Promotion.  Helping to develop campaigns to provide sampling of products; counseling on rules for establishing trade promotion programs; establishing coupon redemption programs; ensuring compliance with rules governing sweepstakes and other games of chance; counseling on public relations.
  • Regulation and Food Safety.  Advising on good manufacturing practices; assisting with product recalls; establishment of crisis management teams to ensure recall readiness; drafting and negotiating regulations and statutory language; developing training programs for employees; drafting food safety policies.
  • Compliance, Risk Prevention and Safety Standards Review. Conducting risk management analyses and providing practical advice for limiting or eliminating safety risks across a range of products, taking account of federal, international and other applicable safety standards; working with different products regulated by the FDA, EPA, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Product Safety Commission to minimize or eliminate product safety issues; working with clients to address obstacles encountered in meeting standards or compliance with new safety regulations and laws.
  • Quality Programs. Counseling on standards and regulations that frame quality assurance and quality control programs, typically in the context of an emerging product safety or liability issue; working with clients and consultants on an as-needed basis to address the existing issues and develop potential solutions.
  • Product Liability Defense. Developing pre-litigation defense strategies and tactics for potential product litigation, including personal injury, consumer fraud, class action defense, warranty, and other related cases.
  • Drafted HIPAA policies, procedures, and authorizations, as well as business associate and data use agreements
  • Counseled client on Japanese medical device laws and regulations before and after major revisions
  • Negotiated business associate agreements for use with national outcomes database having hundreds of healthcare facility participants
  • Prepared infringement and validity opinions relating to, among other things, patents for various technologies, including methods of medical treatment and drug delivery, blood glucose monitors, drugs, chemical enantiomers, beverages, nutritional supplements, methanol to olefin conversion
  • Counseled pharmaceutical and medical device company clients on creation and dissolution of joint ventures for product development and marketing

Food

Food

The Firm brings to bear decades of experience as inside counsel to food companies.  We have a deep and broad understanding of food company objectives as well as the strategies and tactics for realizing them.  While we know how to handle the ordinary range of legal issues that a manufacturer and marketer confronts, we also know how to guide food companies through the entire process of launching a new product, from developing concepts and protecting technology through selecting trademarks, satisfying food safety and labeling standards, and developing complete marketing programs that include ad copy, consumer promotions, pricing and trade marketing plans.  For existing products, we can provide the same high level of know-how, experience and expertise for any piece of the marketing mix.

We have both the expertise to provide these legal services directly as well as the experience and practical know-how to enable your company to manage many of these issues internally, reducing the need for costly legal services.  We can develop policies and procedures that will work quickly and efficiently to achieve compliance in the highly competitive real world of food product marketing. 

When Firm services are needed, we bring cost-effective and creative solutions to legal problems.

    • Development of a wide range of compliance programs, including review of marketing, sales, promotion and product distribution programs for compliance with antitrust and consumer protection laws.  Compliance programs have included live training, computer-based training, podcasts, policy development, antitrust audits, social-networking tools, and risk assessment.

    • Determining proper substantiation for advertising or labeling claims, including copy review procedures and scientific protocols to support nutrition claims, such as whether weight loss claims are supported by real world evidence.  We can provide legal review of consumer coupons and sweepstakes programs, including dealing with fraudulent claims by consumer.

    • Review of labeling for food products to comply with FDA, FTC and USDA regulations – including “organic” and “natural” claims, establishment of nutritional claims and ingredient lines of labels.  We have assisted in ensuring that organic products are certified by recognized agencies.

    • Compliance with government health and safety regulations, import and export compliance and establishment of quality assurance programs.   Examples include review of consumer complaint policies, food allergen policies, manufacturing polices, and product testing procedures.  

    • Review of information protocols to assure that all information directed at consumers complies with state and federal regulations.

    • Protocols for product recalls, to ensure that if a market withdrawal or recall is necessary, proper notification of customers, consumers and government agencies is accomplished, along with effective product retrieval.

    • Reviews of advertising and promotion programs to ensure that promotional allowances and services are made available to all competing customers on a nondiscriminatory basis.

    • Negotiation of a broad range of contracts such as distribution and brokerage contracts, manufacturing (private label) agreements.   We have defended companies facing claims from terminated brokers or distributors.

    • Counseling on public relations connected to food-matters.  We have worked with leading public interest groups on food-related issues at both the farm and consumer level.

    • Dozens of acquisitions or divestitures of food businesses, many with government review.   We have a deep familiarity with the review processes at the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, and can marshal the evidence necessary to expedite antitrust review.

    • Employment matters such as trade secret protection, confidentiality, noncompetition, and non-solicitation agreements, and claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

     In litigation, including pre-litigation resolution of disputes, we have represented food companies in:

    • Licensing and distribution disputes, including termination of distributors with state and federal antitrust, contract, and tort issues raised.

    • Defense of claims and lawsuits involving food recalls and personal injuries due to food contamination, such as products contaminated with listeria.  We have handled a full range of product liability actions, including strict liability, breach of warranty, and failure to warn negligence suits, for national and local companies.

    • Prosecution of claims against commercial insurers to cover their defense and indemnity obligations, even those arising from long-tail claims from businesses no longer operated by the company.

    • Litigation based on claims of trade secret violations, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation litigation. 

    • Initiation of “opt-out” plaintiff cases, such as in Corrugated Container, Folding Carton, Citric Acid, Vitamin, Liquid Carbon Dioxide antitrust and other cases, with recoveries far in excess of class amounts.

    • Counseling about distributor terminations that resulted in recovery of balances due without significant business disruption or filing of litigation.

    • Defense of class action claims alleging price fixing or price discrimination based on promotional programs for new dealers, meeting competitive offers, geographic pricing, and functional discounts.

    .