Beyond Meat Announces Settlement of Don Lee Farms Cases

On Tuesday, Beyond Meat, Inc. (Beyond Meat), filed an 8-K form disclosing that it had reached settlement with Don Lee Farms of two actions: a California state court action filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles and a federal court action in District Court for the Central District of California.

Don Lee Farms describes itself in the federal action (filed in June 2022) as a competitor of Beyond Meat in the plant-based food space and alleges that Beyond Meat has exaggerated the value of the protein in its products and has falsely claimed that its products do not contain synthetic or artificial ingredients.

Don Lee Farms filed its California state court action in May 2017. As described in Beyond Meat’s 2021 10-K, each cause of action in the original state court complaint arises “… out of the Company’s [Beyond Meat’s] decision to terminate an exclusive supply agreement between the Company and Don Lee Farms.” The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the 8-K notes that “all claims and cross-claims” in both actions are dismissed with prejudice and with mutual releases and that no party “admitted liability or wrongdoing.”

In the 2022 federal court action, Don Lee Farms sued both Beyond Meat and Ethan Brown, its CEO. In the 2017 state court action, Don Lee farms originally sued on Beyond Meat, but through five years of litigation, including amended pleadings and cross-complaints, certain present and former Beyond Meat employees were parties at the time of the settlement.

Don Lee Farm’s counsel in the federal court action is Hueston Hennigan. Attorneys from Loeb & Loeb also represented Don Lee Farms in the state court case. Defendants’ counsel in the both actions is Latham & Watkins LLP .