MoFo News Item

MoFo Wins Summary Judgment for Coffee Industry in Prop 65 Litigation

27 Aug 2020

Morrison & Foerster secured a summary judgment for more than 50 companies that roast, package, and distribute over 90% of coffee sold in the United States, including Starbucks Corporation, The J.M. Smucker Company, and other major players, effectively ending a 10-year litigation battle.

On August 25, 2020, Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle granted a motion for summary judgment to the coffee companies, finding they had shown that the lawsuit of the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) was invalid following the recent adoption by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the agency that implements Prop 65, of a regulation exempting acrylamide and other chemicals created during the roasting process from Prop 65’s warning requirement. The ruling follows an earlier victory in July when Judge Berle denied three of CERT’s motions.

“We are pleased with the Judge Berle’s careful considerations of our argument, and of OEHHA’s regulation stating that coffee bean roasting and brewing does not pose significant risk of cancer, or violate Prop 65 labeling requirements,” said James Schurz, Litigation partner representing the coffee companies.

The Morrison & Foerster team represented the coffee makers in the case Council for Education and Research on Toxics v. Starbucks Corp. et al. in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

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