• Blackwell Burke P.A. Wins Dismissal of Hebrew National Putative Nationwide Class Action – This Time in State Court

    In October 2014, a Minnesota state court dismissed with prejudice a putative nationwide class action brought against firm client, ConAgra Foods, Inc.  This is the third victory for the Blackwell Burke defense team (following published decisions in federal court and the Eighth Circuit) in litigation in which the plaintiffs alleged that ConAgra’s Hebrew National brand beef products were not “100% kosher as advertised.” The Dakota County Court agreed with Blackwell Burke’s arguments that the First Amendment barred the plaintiffs’ claims and that the plaintiffs also lacked constitutional and statutory standing. The case, initially filed in 2012, was first dismissed with…
  • Blackwell Burke Secures Win for General Mills in False Ad Suit Over Nature Valley Bars

    Blackwell Burke P.A. secured a complete victory for General Mills, Inc. in a putative nationwide class action over the alleged false advertising of the company’s Nature Valley snack bars.  The named plaintiffs Tracie Chin and Salvatore Montalbano claimed that the company misled consumers by labeling its Nature Valley snack bars as “100% Natural” when the products contained the allegedly non-natural ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, high maltose corn syrup, and maltodextrin.  The plaintiffs sought certification of a nationwide class of Nature Valley purchasers as well as subclasses of New York and New Jersey buyers, in addition to compensatory, treble and…
  • U.S. Supreme Court Victory

    The Supreme Court of the United States denied the certiorari petition of Dr. David Egilman in sub. nom. Egilman v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 1583.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had affirmed the district court’s exclusion of Dr. Egilman’s testimony and grant of summary judgment to Blackwell Burke client ConAgra in one of the nation’s first consumer “popcorn lung” cases.  By declining Dr. Egilman’s petition, the Supreme Court leaves in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision that affirmed Blackwell Burke’s district court victory. Dr. Egilman, an expert witness for the plaintiff in the district court proceedings,…
  • Blackwell Burke P.A. Wins Dismissal of Hebrew National Putative Nationwide Class Action

    Blackwell Burke P.A. obtained a complete defense victory on behalf of firm client ConAgra Foods, Inc. in federal district court in Minnesota. The dismissal with prejudice comes in a putative nationwide class action where consumers alleged that ConAgra’s Hebrew National brand beef products were not “100% kosher” as advertised. In deciding that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, the Court concluded: “The definition of the word ‘kosher’ is intrinsically religious in nature, and this Court may not entertain a lawsuit that will require it to evaluate the veracity of Defendant’s representations that its Hebrew National…
  • Blackwell Burke P.A. Wins Summary Judgment Victory for ExxonMobil

    On January 22, 2013, a New Jersey federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Blackwell Burke client ExxonMobil Oil Corporation. In JOC Inc. v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., No. 2:08-cv-05344-SRC-CLW (D.N.J.), the plaintiff, a former franchisee, brought claims for price discrimination and breach of contract. The plaintiff claimed that ExxonMobil’s use of “zone pricing” constituted illegal price discrimination and that ExxonMobil had also violated several provisions of the parties’ franchise agreement. In a 53-page opinion, the court agreed with Blackwell Burke’s arguments that the plaintiff’s claims were either legally barred or lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The court also…
  • Appeals Court Affirms Blackwell Burke P.A.’s Jury Verdict

    On Tuesday, March 6, the Missouri Court of Appeals (Western District) affirmed Blackwell Burke P.A.’s July 30, 2010 trial court victory on behalf of international food manufacturer ConAgra Foods Inc. in Khoury v. ConAgra Foods in a 19-page opinion.  The lower court judgment, upon jury verdict, awarded a complete defense victory to ConAgra in the first consumer “popcorn lung” case to reach a jury.   At trial, firm founding partner Jerry W. Blackwell was lead counsel and partner Corey L. Gordon was second chair.  Gordon argued the appeal. In the Khoury appeal, the plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued that the trial court had erred in sustaining Blackwell and Gordon’s objections…

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