Davis Wright Tremaine’s National Food + Beverage Practice Adds Leading Litigator and Regulatory Advisor

Litigator Kimberly Bousquet has joined the nationally recognized Food + Beverage practice at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, expanding the team’s litigation, regulatory, and counseling capabilities and positioning the group for further growth.

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Kimberly Bousquet (Photo: Business Wire)

“Kim’s passion for this industry infuses everything she does,” said Jesse Lyon, co-chair of the DWT Food + Beverage industry group. “Our team motto is ‘no dabblers’ and Kim absolutely lives up to that promise. She’s earned the trust of some of the most important and innovative players in the industry and she understands their goals. She will be a tremendous asset to our firm and our clients as we continue to build out this market-leading team.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the DWT team in the past and have come to appreciate their distinct combination of skills,” said Bousquet. “They’re experienced, practical, and connected. This is a group that’s committed to delivering transformational projects that provide better outcomes for all—and they’re expertly equipped to do so. I’m extremely excited to join them.”

Bousquet comes to the firm from Thompson Coburn LLP in St. Louis. She will continue to practice from her homebase in the Midwest, close by many of DWT’s large clients. “We are excited to welcome Kim and support the growth of the firm’s presence in the Midwest and our nationwide commitment to the food, beverage, and agriculture industry,” said Harris Kay, partner-in-charge at DWT’s Chicago office.

Whether clients need a swift remedy or a sophisticated long-term litigation strategy, Bousquet works diligently to identify the straightest path to a successful resolution. She has particular expertise with food and beverage labeling and other regulatory compliance issues involving the FDA, USDA, and other agencies—all areas of significant strength

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How approaches in state attorney general actions differ from typical litigation

February 8, 2023 – Companies generally try to avoid public litigation against a state attorney general at all costs, as it can be catastrophic. (“Developing a strategy for settling multistate AG investigations,” Reuters Legal News, Nov. 10, 2022) In those instances where a confidential regulatory investigation precipitated the filing of a complaint, the state attorney general’s lawsuit makes public the previously unknown regulatory investigation.

That, in turn, usually prompts negative press, customer or consumer inquiries, regulatory scrutiny from other states or federal agencies, and — depending on the focus — consumer class actions by the plaintiffs’ bar. It can also torpedo pending business opportunities, harm employee recruitment efforts, cause a loss of goodwill in the marketplace, drag down company valuations, and potentially trigger a shareholder derivative lawsuit in the case of publicly traded companies.

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Yet, increasingly in recent years, targeted companies have had no choice but to reject the onerous settlement terms demanded by a state attorney general, whether it be because the company cannot afford to pay the stiff monetary demand embedded in the settlement offer or because the injunctive relief terms would cripple the challenged business practice in such a manner that the business unit could not remain viable. When faced with such draconian realities, a company may have no choice but to dig in and prepare for battle.

A common mistake, however, that many companies and their outside counsel make is that they only arm themselves with the same tactics they employ for typical litigation against the plaintiffs’ bar or commercial competitors. They will rely on their tried-and-true strategies for responding to the complaint, such as engaging in motions practice under Rule 12(b), managing discovery, attempting to mediate the case, filing a motion for summary judgment, challenging opposing experts, and eventually

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