Food and Beverage
Goldberg Segalla understands the myriad legal and regulatory challenges facing the food industry. Our breadth of experience resolving commercial, regulatory, and product liability disputes for clients — including market-leading manufacturers of food and other products — means we provide not only solutions for the complex problems facing food businesses today, but also sound, practical advice to avoid potential pitfalls in the future.
Whether your business involves growing, producing, distributing, or selling food and beverages — or any combination thereof — we provide the legal prowess plus industry perspective necessary to help you reach your goals, protect your assets, and gain a competitive advantage. We are well-versed in all the 21st-century challenges of doing business in this industry, including implementing measures of the Food Safety Modernization Act, complying with ever-changing environmental regulations, and handling the unique issues involved with organic production.
Goldberg Segalla can help your food business with:
- Regulatory compliance — We are well versed in the regulatory and business challenges facing our clients — including the myriad regulations on food ingredients and additives issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal and state agencies. We can guide you through compliance and act as your representative in dealing with these agencies.
- Alcoholic beverage law and licensing — We defend clients charged with violations of governing liquor and tax laws, provide consulting and regulatory advice regarding business operations and transactions, negotiate liquor license transfers, and handle disputes between buyers and sellers. We provide counsel to help our clients align their business needs with the statutory and regulatory requirements of this highly regulated industry.
- Risk avoidance — We help clients from the United States, Europe, and Asia navigate the growing and complicated global legal issues confronting them in order to effectively manage risk and minimize the potential for a lawsuit. Our attorneys counsel on everything from major product liability concerns to the daily operational issues of a business.
- Import, export, and entering the U.S. market — We frequently assist global producers of food and grain products with importing goods into the U.S., exporting their goods abroad, or setting up U.S. operations. We can assist with customs and trade issues, cross-border transactions, filing prior notice of imported foods, registering food production facilities with the FDA and the USDA, and other critical issues.
- Litigation — From national class actions to regional and local litigation or alternative dispute resolution forums, we have extensive experience defending clients in the full range of disputes that may arise from the development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and use of products in highly regulated and litigation-prone industries like food. Our team routinely handles disputes involving personal injury, product liability, class actions, contracts and commercial agreements, franchise agreements, intellectual property rights, alleged violations of consumer protection statutes, and other critical areas, with a focus on resolving claims in the most efficient way possible for our clients.
- Labeling, advertising, and marketing — We know from experience that the proper labeling and careful promotion of your product lines can make the difference between success and failure in a regulatory dispute or a product liability lawsuit. We draft, review, and advise on the copy for product labels and packaging, as well as advertising, marketing, and promotional campaigns in all media (including television, broadcast, print, the internet, and social media) to help ensure compliance with the FDA, CPSC, FTC, and other regulatory agencies. Our proactive approach also helps our clients guard against potential product liability, false advertising, improper labeling, failure to warn, intellectual property infringement, consumer fraud, and other claims, including those involving “all-natural,” “non-GMO,” “hormone-free,” “organic,” and other assertions.
- Employment and Labor — We serve the day-to-day labor and employment needs of employers of all types and sizes, including handling all aspects of labor relations; counseling on employment practices and policies; and representing employers against all types of unfair labor practice charges, claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and allegations relating to age, race, gender, and disability discrimination. We counsel and represent clients on wage and hour issues involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including those related to the food service and hospitality industry.
- Workers’ compensation — Goldberg Segalla has successfully represented clients from numerous industries in workers’ compensation litigation, and we have handled a full range of cases involving both major and minor injuries, in both the “accident” and “occupational disease” contexts.
- Manufacturing and distribution — We have extensive experience drafting and negotiating manufacturing and distribution agreements, and we can advise on a broad range of import and export concerns. We also assist with workplace safety issues, including evaluation of compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.
- Trucking and transportation — We provide comprehensive transportation law litigation services and representation aimed at helping you avoid or minimize liability in the event of an accident involving a vehicle in your fleet. Our 24-seven Emergency Response Team manages the first response to an accident in order to begin building a defense to a potential claim immediately.
- Enforcement actions and crisis management — We utilize our extensive experience negotiating with the FDA to help clients respond to warning letters, notices of inspectional observations, government investigations, and other enforcement actions. Our team is also experienced in managing product adulteration and recalls (including both enforced and voluntary recalls), and we can advise clients on effective responses to adverse publicity resulting from recalls or safety concerns.
National and International Reach
No matter where your food business operates, we can assist. Goldberg Segalla attorneys have acted for clients across the United States and in Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America. We are admitted or licensed in U.S. state and federal courts (including the District of Columbia) and foreign jurisdictions. Additionally, our core group of attorneys with international business experience has built strong relationships with firms in Europe and Asia, allowing us to address the unique legal and business challenges facing international food companies. Goldberg Segalla attorneys come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and the language capabilities at our firm include Arabic, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Thai.
Food Industry Perspective and Trusted Experience
At Goldberg Segalla, we continually build our understanding of each client’s industry and individual business models and products so we are better positioned to advise them on how to achieve their unique goals. We represent major food producers, distributors, and retailers within our five-state footprint — spanning New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut — as well as across the United States.
A small sampling of our attorneys’ experience in the food industry includes:
- Serving as general liability counsel to a national pizza chain in New York and New Jersey, and for the past 10 years successfully representing the company in numerous vehicular accident and premises liability cases, contractual claims involving franchisees, insurance coverage and lease disputes, subrogation matters, and the occasional food adulteration case
- Efficiently resolving a $13 million commercial claim over a beverage distribution route asserted against a Fortune 100 company, resulting in the plaintiff voluntarily agreeing to discontinue its claim against our client
- Serving as outside general counsel for a producer of candy and other food products with involvement in almost all aspects of the business, including negotiating numerous domestic and international contracts, coordinating with state agencies on tax issues, representing the company in litigation, coordinating trademark renewals and intellectual property licensing, representing the company in connection with an FDA inspection, and advising senior management on a wide range of issues
- Representing a major international food retailer in a discrimination complaint filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights
- Representing a producer of nut butter products on the construction of a new facility
- Acting as counsel to a major food processing and packaging company in connection with personal injury litigation allegedly related to a food thickening agent
- Addressing business, commercial, regulatory, and transactional issues for Italian wine companies, brand managers, and manufacturers of restaurant supplies and imported food products
- Leading the multi-state (Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa) defense team defending a food company in Salmonella milk poisoning cases that, at the time, were the largest food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S.
- Handling food poisoning defense for two major national retailers in a number of cases related to freshness issues