Trends in Food Labeling Class Action Litigation


WASHINGTON, DC—Dr. Jesse David, a partner and director of Edgeworth Economics’ Pasadena office, has analyzed recent trends in food labeling class action litigation.  

Dr. David’s analysis of state and federal complaints shows that the number of putative class actions filed over food labeling issues has increased from just over 10 cases in 2008 to more than 100 in 2012.

This increase is occurring primarily in California courts, with cases in that state comprising 69% of all filings from 2008 through 2012.  Other jurisdictions—namely, New Jersey, Florida, and New York—each have hosted no more than 10% of cases over the last five years.

Dr. David’s analysis also examines the trends in outcomes of false advertising claims regarding food labeling.  He finds that dismissals without settlement have comprised approximately 70% of outcomes—a ratio that has remained relatively constant since 2008—with essentially all the remaining cases resulting in settlement.  

As filing frequency has increased rapidly, the number and amount of settlements has kept pace, with 15 cases settling in 2012 for a total of $78.6 million. Since 2008, 12 cases have resulted in settlements of $5 million or more, with five of those occurring last year alone.

For more information on Dr. David’s analysis of trends in false advertising cases or his work regarding the application of the predominance standard in food labeling class certification proceedings, please contact

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Note: This data was developed in cooperation with Charles Sipos at Perkins Coie.


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