Law360 Reports on Shook Win for Client Tyson Foods

Law360 examined the dismissal of two class action lawsuits against Shook client Tyson Foods in “Food Cos. Escape Suit Alleging False US Origin Labeling.” The article details the decisions by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on the lawsuits alleging false labeling on beef products marked with “Product(s) of the USA,” when cattle for the products were raised outside of the U.S. and then imported to the U.S. only for slaughter and processing. 

The court dismissed the two consolidated proposed class actions with prejudice after determining the plaintiffs’ allegations could not be backed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of the “Product of the USA” label, and that any claims taking issue with the label were noting different standards than what is stated by the authority of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

“Therefore, all of plaintiffs’ claims are preempted,” the court concluded, “because they seek to impose different or additional labeling requirements than those found under the Federal Meat Inspection Act [FMIA].” 

In addition, the court specified that while the state of New Mexico is allowed to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the USDA over the labeling of beef, the law stipulates, “no state may impose labeling requirements ‘in addition to, or different than’ those issued under the FMIA.”

Shook Partners Amir Nassihi and Mark Tatum were recognized in the article as representing Tyson Foods, and Shook Associates Liz Hutchinson and Charles Rosebrough were also a part of the team securing this win. 

The case is Thornton v. Tyson Foods Inc., No. 1:20-cv-00105 (U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, August 27, 2020).