Jenner & Block

Experienced Food and Beverage Litigator Kate Spelman Rejoins Jenner & Block in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – JUNE 18, 2019– Jenner & Block is pleased to announce that Kate T. Spelman has rejoined the firm as a partner in its Complex Commercial Litigation Practice.

Ms. Spelman returns to the firm’s Los Angeles office after serving as an in-house lawyer for The Wonderful Company, where she conducted litigation risk assessments and litigated a wide variety of claims related to The Wonderful Company’s numerous food and beverage brands.

Ms. Spelman brings additional experience and depth to the firm’s food and beverage industry group, which defends major companies in consumer class actions and against other claims.  Before joining The Wonderful Company, she was an integral part of the group, litigating class actions arising out of the consumer products industry.

“Kate adds tremendous value to our food and beverage industry clients that trust us to handle their most complex and important legal matters,” said firm Chair Craig C. Martin. “We are pleased to welcome her back to the firm.”

Ms. Spelman’s experience includes litigation at the trial and appellate levels over food labeling, particularly for products labeled as “natural.”  For example, while at the firm, she represented a large food manufacturer in decertifying a class action contesting “natural” cheese labeling, and was part of a team that defeated class certification in a dispute over tea labeling.  She also obtained denial of class certification in multiple federal jurisdictions on behalf of a large public food company in one of the first cases to address “all natural” labeling of GMO foods.

In addition, she has litigated fraud, breach of contract, employment, personal injury and intellectual property claims arising out of the food industry.

“With the high volume of food and consumer class actions filed in California, adding another lawyer with such deep experience who is based in the state significantly strengthens our capabilities,” said Dean N. Panos, head of the firm’s food and beverage industry group.  “Kate’s familiarity with these cases and her understanding of our clients’ business pressures further our strategic vision of providing exceptional service to leading companies in the industry.”

Jenner & Block’s food and beverage industry group has collectively handled more than 75 consumer class action cases in the last five years alone.  Named a Law360 Practice Group of the Year each year since 2017, the group also earned recognition in Chambers USA as being among the top US food and beverage litigation practices for 2018.

“I’m looking forward to returning to the firm to work alongside some of the best lawyers in the country,” said Ms. Spelman.  “The firm is a special place for me because of its deep commitment to excellence, diversity and inclusion, and pro bono. I’m excited to help support and expand its Complex Commercial Litigation Practice.”

Ms. Spelman has a long history of advocating for pro bono clients.  She has represented capital defendants in civil rights litigation, tenants wrongfully evicted from their apartments and immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. 

Ms. Spelman received her BA from Stanford University and earned a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude and Order of the Coif.  She is a member of the California bar and is admitted to practice in the federal courts of California as well as the US Court of Federal Claims.  Before joining Jenner & Block, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Francis M. Allegra on the US Court of Federal Claims.