Greenberg Traurig LLP class action litigation co-chair Rick Shackelford’s efforts this year in beating back suits accusing Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Welch Foods of deceptive labeling were among efforts that helped him earn a spot as one of Law360’s Food & Beverage MVPs for 2016.
Los Angeles-based Shackelford, who has been at Greenberg Traurig since 2009, said work for food and beverage companies made up two-thirds of his defense practice. His work in the area contributed to landing Greenberg Traurig’s food and beverage team among Law360’s 2015 Practice Groups of the Year.
Shackelford traces the growth of litigation in his practice to a 2008 California Supreme Court decision on farm-raised salmon that found that consumer claims could be made under the state consumer law without falling under the federal law. The consumers had claimed that they were deceived because a salmon label didn’t disclose the use of artificial colorings. "It opened the door to these claims ... [by giving] the instruction manual, if you will, for how to plead around preemption issues," Shackelford told Law360. As more and more of those cases began to be filed, he developed a body of work in the litigation area of food and beverage labeling, which just a few years ago had primarily been about regulatory law.
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