Press Release May 11, 2006

Goodwin Litigator Helps Secure Victory for Tuna Canners

BOSTON, May 11, 2006 — After a two month trial, presiding Judge Robert Dondero of the San Francisco Superior Court issued an opinion today finding that California's Proposition 65, which requires companies to warn consumers of products containing hazardous ingredients, does not require methyl mercury warnings on canned tuna. California's Attorney General Bill Lockyer sued to compel warnings and sought millions of dollars in penalties from three principal tuna manufacturers, Del Monte (Starkist), BumbleBee and Tri-Union Seafoods (Chicken-of-the-Sea), as well as the United States Tuna Foundation. 

The Court ruled in favor of the tuna canners on all issues — that the state law is preempted by a federal Food and Drug Administration advisory encouraging fish consumption, that mercury levels are not high enough to warrant health warnings, and that tuna is exempt because mercury in ocean fish is naturally occurring.

Goodwin Procter partner Forrest Hainline represented the tuna canners in this trial.