Jenner & Block

Food and Beverage

Year in and year out, when the titans of the food and beverage industry need litigation and transactional counsel, they turn to Jenner & Block.  We are counsel of choice for the world’s most recognized brands, representing clients in a range of areas, including:

  • Consumer class actions and commercial litigation
  • Product recalls
  • Tax disputes
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Financing transactions
  • Joint ventures
  • Strategic investments and alliances
  • Public equity and debt securities offerings
  • Tender offers and in connection with general counseling

Reflecting excellence delivered by our industry focused team, Jenner & Block’s Food and Beverage practice was named a “Practice Group of the Year” by Law360 for 2017.  The practice was similarly recognized by Chambers USA among the leading food and beverage litigation practices in the United States for 2017.

LITIGATION PRACTICES

Our team has collectively handled more than 75 consumer class action cases for clients in the food industry in the last four years alone.  We know the key cases and keep track of recent developments, and our extensive knowledge of the case law saves our clients time and money.  We have had significant victories in getting putative class action cases dismissed at the pleading stages or on summary judgment and have won appeals in the Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits in class action matters.  We have extensive experience in key jurisdictions where these cases are often venued, including more than 50 cases in the Northern District of California in the last four years alone.  Our understanding of the judges, juries, opposing counsel and pool of experts serve to advance our clients’ interests and offer a level of differentiation, as well as cost savings by reducing time spent getting up to speed on these important elements of litigation matters. 

We have also had many victories in defeating class certification, which have resulted in dismissals or nominal settlements in class action cases.  In defending class action cases, we regularly retain and work with premiere experts on consumer behavior, research and surveys and damages experts who are skilled at undermining price premium or hedonic regression damages models used by plaintiffs in consumer fraud litigation.  Our stable of battle-tested experts in these fields has assisted us in defeating various class certification attempts by plaintiffs.

Of particular relevance to many in the industry, we have deep legal and factual knowledge of “natural” and GMO issues, having litigated several of these cases.  We know the key cases and have developed numerous successful arguments relating to “natural”/GMO claims.  We are also very familiar with the ingredients that are at issue in the “natural” and GMO lawsuits.

Examples include:

  • Represented one of the largest cereal manufacturers in connection with a nationwide class action lawsuit alleging injuries from genetically modified corn in certain of the company’s products.  We were able to settle the class action claims at no cost to the company and prosecuted commercial claims against its suppliers of the genetically modified corn to recover our client’s damages in having to recall its products.
  • Represented one of the largest soft drink manufacturers in connection with class action litigation arising out of claims of consumer fraud and deceptive advertising.
  • Defended nationwide class action claims against a Fortune 100 beverage manufacturer involving use of sweeteners in beverage products.
  • Defended a California class action claim against a Fortune 250 food manufacturer involving sale of products as "reduced sugar" products
  • Representation of a leading food corporation in connection with nationwide food contamination class action claims related to recall of certain product lines alleged to have caused a listeria outbreak.

TRANSACTIONAL PRACTICES

Our lawyers provide sophisticated transactional and counseling services to assist food and beverage companies in achieving their global business objectives.  We regularly represent industry clients, both public and privately held, in mergers and acquisitions, financing transactions, joint ventures, strategic investments and alliances, public equity and debt securities offerings, tender offers and in connection with general counseling.

Examples include:

US Foods

  • Representation of US Foods in its $1.175 billion initial public offering
  • Representation of US Foods in its $1 billion secondary public offering of common stock

Snyder’s-Lance

  • Representation of Snyder’s-Lance in its $4.9 billion acquisition by The Campbell Soup Company
  • Representation of Snyder’s-Lance in its $1.91 billion acquisition of Diamond Foods, Inc.

Archer Daniels Midland

  • Representation of Archer Daniels Midland in the $1.3 billion sale of its global cocoa business to Olam International Limited
  • Representation of Archer Daniels Midland in the $440 million sale of its global chocolate business to Cargill

COUNSELING

Many clients leverage our extensive industry knowledge to provide counsel on strategic decisions to help advance their business objectives.  Our counselling services include navigating complex regulatory issues, providing pro-active guidance to minimize litigation risks, and offering strategic counseling in crisis management scenarios involving litigation, public relations, and/or governmental investigation issues.