Kate T. Spelman is a co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Law Practice and has extensive experience handling consumer class actions, commercial disputes, and professional liability matters. She is also an integral member of the firm’s food and beverage industry group, which defends major companies against labeling and advertising claims.
Ms. Spelman has litigated numerous consumer class actions in California, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois federal trial and appellate courts on behalf of food, electronics, and auto manufacturers, regularly achieving early dismissals of claims and denials of class certification. Recently, 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.
Ms. Spelman has significant experience representing and counseling large and mid-sized companies across a wide range of industries on subject matters including commercial contracts, partnership disputes, antitrust claims, allegations of business interference, licensing disputes, allegations of trade secret misappropriation, trademark disputes, and insurance coverage and indemnity matters.
Ms. Spelman also counsels attorneys on professional liability matters. She successfully defended an international law firm against a motion for disqualification and achieved a favorable settlement of a threatened malpractice action.
Ms. Spelman has a robust pro bono practice, including the representation of capital defendants in civil rights litigation, tenants wrongfully evicted from their apartments and immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. She represented an inmate seeking redress for law enforcement officials’ alleged use of excessive force, which culminated in a federal jury trial.
Ms. Spelman received her B.A. from Stanford University in 2003 and earned a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law in 2009, 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 U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Prior to joining Jenner & Block, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Francis M. Allegra on the US Court of Federal Claims.
From 2017 until 2019, Ms. Spelman served 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.