Prop 65 Has its Perks for Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Coffee Litigation

Cross-posted at WLF’s Forbes.com contributor site

First, they argued that Californians must be warned of the possible carcinogenic effects of driving in parking garages.  Then it was lighting matches, eating potato chips, and plugging in Christmas lights.  According to plaintiffs’ lawyers, our most innocuous habits must be warned against.  Now, drinking coffee is a purportedly dangerous practice–or so alleges The Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT).

CERT has brought a lawsuit against coffee roasting companies under California’s Proposition 65.  Prop 65, as many Californians are aware, requires warning labels to be placed on products that contain materials the state alleges are associated with cancer, and the act’s private attorney general provisions allow consumers–even those who cannot show they’ve been harmed–to bring lawsuits to enforce the act.  The act also provides for attorneys’ fees.

You can guess what Prop 65 hath wrought: litigation has erupted, and strike suits under the act have become a cottage industry.  Even the iPhone (not my iPhone!) has been targeted by environmental groups.

According to the California Office of the Attorney General, 74% of Prop 65 settlement awards in 2011 went to attorneys’ fees and costs.  Producers have responded accordingly, and companies now slap Prop 65 warnings on just about every product in an effort to not be sued.  This fact severely undermines the usefulness of the warnings. Continue reading “Prop 65 Has its Perks for Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Coffee Litigation”

WLF Web Seminar Delved Into Constitutional Problems with Forced Biotech Food Labeling

Yesterday’s Washington Legal Foundation Web Seminar program is available as an on-demand video file, indexed by speaker, in our Communications archive.  Click on the title of the program below to access the program.  The speakers’ Powerpoint presentations are below as well.

Mandatory Biotech Food Labeling in the States: Federal Constitutional & Legal Vulnerabilities

Sarah Roller, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Eric Lasker, Hollingsworth LLP

Roller & Lasker Powerpoint Presentation

WLF Reference Materials

Publications

Blog Posts

Also visit WLF’s focused website dedicated to food and beverage legal policy issues, Eating Away Our Freedoms.org