California, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. also popular “food courts”
Washington, D.C.— New York’s federal courts are the number one spot for plaintiffs’ lawyers to file lawsuits over food and beverage marketing, according to a new study released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). The Food Court: Developments in Litigation Targeting Food and Beverage Marketing found that, in 2020, half of the nation’s food litigation was filed in the Empire State, with most cases filed in only two jurisdictions: its Eastern and Southern Districts.
The Food Court also found that:
- Food and beverage marketing class actions have increased 52 percent since 2017, with 2021 on track to set another record.
- Since 2019, more than 100 lawsuits over vanilla-flavored products were filed in New York courts by a handful of local lawyers.
- Plaintiffs’ lawyers make big money off these lawsuits: In one case about vanilla yogurt, the lawyers are set to receive $550,000, the named plaintiffs will split $25,000, and consumers will be eligible for 50 cents per purchase without a receipt for up to ten products—or about $5.
- Twenty-five percent of food marketing cases are filed in California, making it the second most popular jurisdiction for plaintiffs’ lawyers.
- Illinois, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. have also seen increased litigation.
- The next big trend is lawsuits designed to scare consumers by claiming food products contain minimal traces of chemicals.
“Assuming you ate or drank anything over the past few years, you were probably unknowingly part of a lawsuit,” explained Oriana Senatore, the Institute for Legal Reform’s senior vice president of policy and research. “These lawsuits are designed by a handful of plaintiffs’ lawyers who create templates that they copy and paste for cases against different companies or products. Our research shows that this results in big paydays for the lawyers while consumers see little to no benefit.”
The Food Court: Developments in Litigation Targeting Food and Beverage Marketing is an update to ILR’s 2017 research paper, The Food Court: Trends in Food and Beverage Class Action Litigation.