Legal Backgrounder: The Rising Tide of Class Action Litigation Against Beer, Wine, Spirits Industry

Washington Legal Foundation
May 22, 2015

An article that analyzes the rising tide of class action litigation against the beer, wine and spirits industry – written by Thomas Cunningham, a Partner and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Locke Lord, and Simon Fleischmann, a Partner and Founding Member of the Firm's Food & Beverage Industry Group – was recently published in a "Legal Backgrounder" by the Washington Legal Foundation. In the article, "Consumer Class Actions Against Liquor Producers Follow Familiar Path", the authors discussed the genesis and issues raised in beer, wine and spirits class-action cases and where the spirits industry litigation is headed.

Cunningham and Fleischmann predict that if the numerous courts currently considering motions to dismiss in these cases rule in favor of defendants and cases are dismissed, plaintiffs will likely take those decisions to the federal courts of appeals, while defendants in cases where motions to dismiss are denied will likely seek to stay or delay their cases pending rulings in any such appeals. But if judges consistently deny the defendants' arguments for dismissal, expect to see either class-certification fights similar to those in the Skinnygirl litigation or class settlements. According to the authors, a trend toward class settlements will breed more litigation against the industry. Denial of certification in a few more cases will likely encourage the itinerant plaintiffs’ class-action bar to move on to something else.

Please click here to view the article.