Consumer Protection or Shakedown Suits?


Recently the New Yorker featured the career of Attorney Spencer Sheehan who initiates class-action litigation over label claims and ingredient composition of food products.


Since 2018 his law firm has filed over 500 consumer-protection class-action suits.  Some of the claims litigated by Sheehan include lack of real mint in Trident gum; the Snapple claim of “all natural” beverages that are devoid of real fruit and the case of frosted strawberry pop-tarts that do not contain strawberries.


Sheehan obviously employs personnel to scrutinize labels on packaged food with specific reference to “authenticity”. To quote the New Yorker “He is a folk hero”.  Essentially he initiates lawsuits that could be regarded as “shakedowns” resulting in negotiated payments since adverse publicity and the legal costs of going to trial outweigh the cost of settlement. 


Consumer-protection attorneys are the bottom-feeders of their profession and effectively impose additional costs on production without creating any benefit to either food safety or quality. Their nuisance suits detract from manufacturers’ ability to allocate earnings to R&D, employee benefits, capital improvement and shareholder dividends.