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Forrest Hainline is a nationally known trial lawyer with judgments in more than 100 cases before courts, juries, administrative agencies and arbitration panels throughout the United States. He has appeared in the Supreme Court of the United States and has argued before seven U.S. Courts of Appeals.

Mr. Hainline has extensive experience in products liability and mass tort cases, California’s Proposition 65 matters, consumer class actions and products labeling cases, and distribution and competition matters. He has broad experience in food, supplement and hospitality litigation. He is a key member of Goodwin Procter’s Food Industry and Hospitality & Leisure Practices. He is often brought in to try cases within months of trial.

Mr. Hainline represents food and supplement industry clients in litigation involving product safety claims and product labeling claims (often where the company’s reputation is at risk), as well as distribution, competition and intellectual property matters.

In the hospitality and leisure space, Mr. Hainline represents hotel management companies in disputes with owners. His experience includes representing:

  • Food companies in consumer class actions challenging food labels as being misleading
  • Food and consumer products companies in challenges under California’s Proposition 65 labeling statue. Mr. Hainline tried one of only three Proposition 65 cases to go to trial, including the best known – the California Attorney General’s attempt to require methyl mercury warnings on canned tuna
  • A major food manufacturer in connection with a mercury poisoning case a month before trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Food manufacturers in cases claiming botulism poisoning
  • A major food manufacturer in a catastrophic product loss claim against a manufacturer of a sanitizing agent used in the preparation of fresh produce
  • A major cookie manufacturer in nationwide challenges to its distribution system
  • An industry leading food manufacturer in a patent infringement and theft of trade secret claim involving its well-known in-store displays
  • A major food manufacturer in an antitrust challenge to its direct-billing of chain stores serviced by independent distributors, and established the legality of that practice
  • The former CEO and former chief wine maker of a famous vineyard in a dispute over the value of his clients’ ownership of the winery
  • Hotel management companies in “midnight raid” (an industry phrase Mr. Hainline coined) efforts by hotel owners to change management
  • Hotel management companies in radius and other disputes with hotel owners
  • A supplement marketer regarding Proposition 65 matters

Mr. Hainline is listed as one of only 12 Leading Lawyers in the United States for Products Liability law (along with Goodwin Procter partner Joanne Gray) by The Legal 500. He is also listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, U.S. News-Best Lawyers and California Super Lawyers.

Professional Activities

Mr. Hainline is a member and former Chair of the Standing Committee on Professional Conduct for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyers honorary society.

Protectable Interests in Management Agreements
Originally published on
September 28, 2011

Poetry in the Courtroom
California Lawyer
April 1, 2007