The American Tort Reform Foundation has published the 2013-2014 issue of its “Judicial Hellholes” report, placing California, in part for the many lawsuits against food and beverage companies filed there, at the top of the list of jurisdictions with “plaintiff-friendly consumer protection laws” and courts purportedly receptive to such lawsuits.
According to the report, plaintiffs’ lawyers “have filed a surge of consumer class actions targeting what they have labeled as ‘Big Food’” in California courts. “Some of these claims are brought by veterans of lawsuits against the tobacco industry who are looking for the next deep pocket to sue. About a dozen plaintiffs’ law firms have taken to the courts with gusto, filing about 75 class action lawsuits between them in the past few years. By one count, which includes filings from additional firms, more than 100 consumer class actions were filed against food makers in 2012 alone, five times the number filed four years earlier.”
The report also notes, “Rarely has there been a week in 2013 without a report of another class action filed against a food maker. In some instances, the lawyers bringing the cases do not even bother to find new clients—they recycle the same individuals as lead plaintiffs, over and over again, in lawsuits involving different manufacturers and products.”