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Rick L. Shackelford is Co-Chair of the firm’s Food, Beverage & Agribusiness Practice. Rick’s practice focuses on complex litigation in numerous fields, including consumer class actions, product liability, false advertising, bankruptcy, securities, insurance, real estate and commercial law. He has considerable experience in consumer class action litigation, having been involved in class actions in federal courts in several states. In addition, his practice includes trials and appeals, in many instances involving cases he has handled from their initial pleading stages. He has defended clients in consumer product liability cases, including Proposition 65 claims. He has also represented debtors and creditors in bankruptcy actions throughout California, as well as in Ohio, Texas and Nevada, and has defended and prosecuted avoidance actions.

Rick represents food and beverage companies in consumer class and individual actions alleging deceptive trade practices and false advertising, including challenges to nutrition, ingredient and health claims made in a variety of media. His experience includes defending three clients in federal jury trials for alleged false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act and applying the “safe harbor” laws in two different district courts to bar consumer deception claims leveled against alcoholic beverage labels – the first such rulings ever applied to distilled spirits. Rick also handles claims for makers of dietary supplements, weight loss products, cosmetics and skin care products in California based upon claims that the products are ineffective or unlawfully marketed as unapproved drugs.


  • False Advertising
  • Consumer Product Liability
  • Food & Beverage
  • Toxic Torts



  • Served as lead trial counsel in defending Tropicana Products Co., Inc., Welch Foods, Inc. and Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. in three separate jury trials involving claims of false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act. All three cases resulted in defense judgments.
  • Represented PepsiCo, Inc., Smart Balance, Inc., Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and Welch's Inc., as well as numerous other companies in consumer class actions alleging false advertising.
  • Served as lead counsel for PepsiCo in several consumer class action cases based upon claims of benzene in soft drink products and in connection with allegedly deceptive marketing of cereal products.
  • Counseled clients on potential consumer claims based upon the marketing of food products sweetened with sucralose and on California’s Proposition 65.


  • Defended manufacturers of asbestos-containing products in several cases in California state courts, including trials in 2012 and 2013.
  • Represented Mattel in consumer claims of lead paint in toys and on California’s Proposition 65.
  • Represented tobacco companies in numerous product liability cases, including both individual smoking cases and smoker class actions in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Minnesota.
  • Represented Lehman Brothers in the defense of claims arising from the KPMG tax shelter scandal.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, Acritas Stars™ Independently Rated Lawyers, “Star Lawyers,” 2018-2021
  • Listed, Who’s Who Legal, "International Who’s Who of Product Liability Defense Lawyers,"2022-2023
  • Team Member, The American Lawyer’s “Products Liability Litigation Department of the Year,” 2018
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Dispute Resolution: Product Liability, Mass Tort and Class Action - Consumer Products (Including Tobacco), 2018, 2021
  • Selected, Law360 MVP "Food & Beverage," 2016
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Food & Beverage Practice Group of the Year," 2015
  • Listed, Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal, "Top 20 Defense Verdicts," 2011
  • Named, Client Service All Star, BTI Client Service All-Stars Report, 2011
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, Steering Committee, Cambridge Forum on Defense Food Litigation, 2020 
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers Los Angeles


  • J.D., cum laude, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, 1990
    • Willard Pedrick Scholar
  • B.A., cum laude, Harvard University, 1986
    • Harvard College Scholar
  • California