Business Litigation, Client Outcomes, Notable Cases, Product Liability

UCC Breach of Warranty/Ritz Cracker Product Recall

February 15, 2023

As lead trial attorney, Carlos A. Vera recently defended a food ingredient supplier in a large commercial litigation dispute involving a product recall of dry whey powder that was potentially contaminated with salmonella. The contaminated products were intercepted before they reached consumers, so the dispute focused more on the cost of the recall and business loss issues for both our client and its customers.  Plaintiff claimed $25M in damages.  We valued the dispute differently.  At trial, we acknowledged that Plaintiff sustained $8.65M in damages to cover the loss of their inventory and recall costs. But this was not enough for Plaintiff who asked for far more, including $5M in lost profits on “additional impacted brands”, another $4.5M for “incremental marketing expenses” purportedly to mitigate losses to their brand caused by the recall, and $2M for non-impacted products that Plaintiff contended it had to sweep into the recall.  At the end of the seven-day trial, the jury agreed with our damages argument and awarded $8.65M to the Plaintiff. 

Of note, our client was named in a second, similar lawsuit. We could not represent our client because of a conflict with Plaintiff in the second lawsuit. That case settled for $19M. Very similar facts to our case.

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