Read My Latest Article: Using Online Tools to Assess Consumer Perceptions of Class-Action Food Litigation

How may researchers assess consumers’ perceptions of class-action lawsuits? And what are the implications of those perceptions?

Those simple questions lie at the heart of my latest law-review article, published this week. The short article, Using Online Tools to Assess Consumer Perceptions of Class-Action Food Litigation, appears in the prestigious Loyola Consumer Law Review, the only law journal dedicated solely to examining legal issues that pertain to consumers.

The piece, the lead article in the new symposium issue of the law review, takes a novel approach to understanding consumer perceptions of class-action litigation, an area of great importance and timeliness and one in which a dearth of research currently exists. In the article, I introduce an approach to using online tools—including everything from social media apps such Facebook and Twitter to message boards—to assess how consumers perceive class-action litigation. Specifically, the article focuses on the mushrooming area of class-action litigation pertaining to food (which I dub the “food class action,” or “FCA” for short). Examples I discuss in the article include the famed Subway “footlong” lawsuit and suits targeting candy maker Wrigley, brewer Pabst, and soft-serve ice cream giant Dairy Queen.

Here’s an excerpt:

Online tools allow consumers to share their perceptions of FCAs and, more generally, of class-action litigation. As this Article describes, such perceptions pertain to many of the key issues in such litigation, from their merits to the state of the American judicial system…. As calls for class-action reforms grow, those who establish and amend rules for; study; and participate in such litigation—among them policymakers, judges, attorneys, and scholars, respectively—should consider the perceptions and wishes of consumers to help inform the basis, shape, and parameters of any such reforms.

Publication of this article follows my appearance as an invited panelist at the Loyola Consumer Law Review’s annual symposium last year. Read the complete article here. To read more of my selected writings, click here.

My Latest Law-Review Article Explores Growth in Field of Food Law & Policy

I’m excited to report that my latest law-journal article has just been published in the Journal of Food Law & Policy (housed at the University of Arkansas Law School). In the article, which I co-authored with Harvard Law School’s Emily Broad Leib, we conclude that the legal field of Food Law & Policy has matured into a vital and vibrant field in the legal academy.

The article, Food Law & Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy, updates a seminal 2014 Wisconsin Law Review article on the field, Food Law & Policy: The Fertile Field’s Origins and First Decade, by me and Broad Leib. That article was the first to detail the fascinating origins and explosive growth of the field from its beginnings in the mid-2000s. In the new Journal of Food Law & Policy article, we present fresh data on the steady growth of the field since publication of our Wisconsin Law Review article.

Using the same ten criteria we developed to measure the growth of Food Law & Policy for the earlier article, the Journal of Food Law & Policy piece measures and details the field’s growth since that time. The field’s continued growth—along with its firm footing within the legal academy—is one of the new article’s key findings.

For example, in the 2014 article we determined that 20 of the top-100 law schools had offered Food Law & Policy courses. The new article identifies 34 such schools that have offered courses—including, in some cases, multiple course offerings. That’s a seventy-percent increase in just four years.

The new article also reveals several other equally compelling data points. For example, the 2014 article identified one dedicated Food Law & Policy clinic at a law school (led by Broad Leib), along with thirty clinics at twenty-three laws schools that had pursued one or more Food Law & Policy projects. The new article shows that four schools now boast dedicated Food Law & Policy clinics, and that nearly six-dozen clinics at four-dozen law schools have now worked on one or more Food Law & Policy projects.

Finally, while the 2014 article identified seven (of ten) areas of a legal field that Food Law & Policy had occupied, the new Journal of Food Law & Policy article demonstrates that Food Law & Policy now meets all ten such criteria. That's exciting growth for a legal field, particularly over a period of just a few short years.

For legal nerds only, here’s the cite: Emily Broad Leib & Baylen J. Linnekin, Food Law & Policy: An Essential Part of Today’s Legal Academy, 13 J. Food L. & Pol’y 228 (2018).