Cases & Deals

California wineries successfully defend lawsuits alleging trace amounts of arsenic in wine are hazardous

Clients California wineries

Jones Day defended three wineries in putative state and national class action lawsuits filed in California, Florida, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico alleging that the trace amounts of arsenic in some California wines is excessive and potentially hazardous. Plaintiffs did not allege that any person had been injured from arsenic in wine, but sought to recover the purchase price and other damages, and to force wineries to adopt an extraordinarily low concentration of arsenic in wine by global standards. The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation denied plaintiffs' motion to consolidate the federal cases. The federal plaintiffs then agreed with defendants' suggestion to transfer all cases to New Orleans, and they voluntarily dismissed their cases after defendants filed motions to dismiss. In California, the trial court granted defendants' demurrer and dismissed the case without leave to amend. Plaintiffs then appealed, and the California appellate court unanimously affirmed the dismissal.

In re: California Wine Inorganic Arsenic Levels Products Liability Litigation, No. 2632 (J.P.M.L.); Charles v. Wine Group, No. BC576061 (Super. Cal.); Washington v. Wine Group, No. 4:15-cv-00163-RH-CAS (N.D. Fla.); Marvin v. Wine Group, No. 3:15-cv-00176-JJB-SCR (M.D. La.); Bithorn v. Wine Group, No. 3:15-cv-01424 (D.P.R.); Lopez v. Wine Group, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-01131 consolidated with No. 2:15-cv-2890 (E.D. La.)