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Weintraub Tobin Participating in Food Safety Webinar

Posted in Agriculture Law, Food Safety, Food Safety Modernization Act

Food Safety Product Liability Claims

Mastering the Standards for Fault, Causation and Damages in Foodborne Illness Litigation

A live 90-minute CLE webinar/teleconference with interactive Q&A

Thursday, June 13, 2013 (2 days) 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

This CLE webinar will provide product liability defense and plaintiff counsel with a review of the legal issues particular to foodborne illness litigation and will discuss the definition of standards for fault, causation and damages.


The CDC estimates that there are over 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year. Jury verdicts can reach millions of dollars and garner unfavorable media attention. Whether bringing or defending a food safety claim, success hinges upon mastering the standards unique to these cases.

Foodborne illness liability requires the establishment of fault and causation by the plaintiff. Both plaintiff and defense counsel must understand the scientific link between the foodborne illness, the alleged harm to a plaintiff, and the defendant’s product to prove or defend against such suits.

In food safety litigation, counsel must also understand how to assess damages. The financial liability of all parties involved, the anticipation of plaintiffs’ future medical costs, and defendants’ insurance coverage all play a key role in determining damages.

Listen as our authoritative panel of product liability attorneys defines the standards for establishing fault and causation and proving damages in food safety cases. They will also discuss current trends in food safety litigation and best practices to bring or defend these cases.



  1. Compliance issues in food safety
    1. Overview of legal requirements in food safety
    2. Statutes
    3. Regulations
  2. The food safety product liability claim
    1. Brief overview of science of foodborne illness
    2. Delineating fault
    3. Defining a scientific causal link
  3. How to pay for a food safety problem
    1. Types of costs a food liability problem can cause
    2. Role of insurance and other risk-spreading tools
    3. Early steps to take when claims or recalls occur
    4. What your company or client can do now to prepare


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the standards for liability and negligence and which defendants are held to each standard in food safety litigation?
  • How does available insurance coverage influence how counsel approaches the legal issues involved?
  • What is the role of expert witnesses in establishing causation and determining damages?

Following the speaker presentations, you’ll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Jonathan M. Cohen, Partner Gilbert, Washington, D.C.

His practice focuses on the litigation and resolution of complex, multiparty disputes involving insurance, product liability, and supply-chain issues.  wide range of coverage matters, including bodily injury and property damage, food-contamination, asbestos, product recall, technology-related property damage, advertising injury and pharmaceutical-related coverage issues.

Lee N. Smith, Shareholder Weintraub Tobin, Sacramento, Calif.

His practice includes food safety, Proposition 65, land and natural resource regulation, and environmental compliance, water law and litigation. He has also been involved in state court litigation concerning pesticide contamination, the California Environmental Quality Act, and Prop. 65 litigation, as well as federal litigation involving pesticide registration and CERCLA.

Felicity A. McGrath, Partner Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, Washington, D.C.

She is experienced in litigating matters in the areas of personal injury and products liability. She represents manufacturers and retailers across the United States in the areas of food safety and foodborne pathogens, product tampering, allergies, and food sensitivities.