Jane Lavoie-Fern, et al., v. The Hershey Company
Jane Lavoie-Fern, et al., v. The Hershey Company (U.S. District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, July 11, 2022): A Pennsylvania district court denied Hershey’s motion to dismiss a claim for strict products liability and negligence for failure to warn customers of the potential harmful health effects of glycyrrhizin, a component of black licorice. Hershey argued that the claims were expressly preempted by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which requires food labels to include the “common or usual name” of each ingredient “in descending order of prominence by weight.” The NLEA contains an express preemption clause that prohibits states from imposing any requirement that is not identical to those in the NLEA, but also states that the preemption clause “shall not be construed to apply to any requirement respecting a statement in the labeling of food that provides for a warning concerning the safety of the food or component of the food.” The court noted that, due to the presumption against preemption, when presented with two plausible readings of a statute, the court must accept the reading that disfavors preemption. Read the full decision here.