Claire J. Mitchell
Claire Mitchell is a business transactional attorney in Seattle with a focus on the food, beverage and renewable energy industries. Claire advises businesses on mergers, acquisitions, financings, and other strategic corporate transactions as well as during various commercial contract negotiations.
In addition to her transactional work, Claire has particular expertise in the food, beverage, and agribusiness industries. Accordingly, she regularly counsels clients at all levels of the supply chain, including international, national, and regional growers, processors, and retailers, on a variety of regulatory compliance and risk management issues. Specifically, she advises clients on product labeling, marketing, advertising, and packaging to ensure compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), and the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). Claire also works with companies on food safety compliance strategies which includes assisting with standard operating procedures, current good manufacturing practices, HACCP compliance, letters of guarantee, protocols for handling a government inspection, responses to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning Letters, product recall strategy, and compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Additionally, Claire assists clients to develop and implement intellectual property strategies suitable to their business, including the registration, maintenance, protection, and licensing of trademarks and copyrights.
Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Claire was an Associate with Marler Clark LLP in Seattle, WA where she represented victims of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, assisted in the investigation of foodborne illness outbreaks, and regularly communicated with officials at federal, state and local regulatory agencies.
Claire blogs on the Food Liability Law blog and the Alcoholic Beverages Law blog and has been published in the Food and Drug Law Institute's Update and the American Agricultural Law Association's Agricultural Law Update.
Representative Food and Beverage Work
- Frequently performs full consumer product label evaluation to ensure compliance with federal statutes and corresponding regulations.
- Reviews marketing and advertising materials and develops strategies to meet FDA, FTC, and state and local law requirements governing product labeling and health related claims.
- Advises clients on certification and labeling issues for “organic” products to ensure compliance with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program’s standards and regulations.
- Counsels food industry clients on various voluntary product claims including “gluten free,” “kosher,” “all natural,” and “non-GMO,” as well as nutrient content claims, structure/function claims, and health claims.
- Reviews and drafts letters of guarantee, distribution agreements, supplier and vendor agreements, indemnification agreements relating to consumer products.
- Continuously monitors state and federal legislation and policies affecting the regulation of products containing genetically engineered ingredients.
- Advises clients on the requirements and limitations associated with making health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims.
- Formulates strategies for responding to regulatory agency warning letters or enforcement action, consumer complaints, or threats of litigation.
- Educates clients about the legal standards governing product recalls and market withdrawals and related liability risk mitigation considerations.
- Guides food, beverage, and dietary supplement companies through the product recall or market withdrawal process.
- Interfaces with state and federal regulatory officials on behalf of clients during a food safety and/or quality incidents.
- Counsels clients on requirements set forth under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
- Assists clients in obtaining required state and federal licenses, permits and registrations.
Representative Transactional Work
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its back-leverage debt financing of three portfolios of solar PV projects (25 projects, totaling 144 MW) in California and New York by a club of lenders, including KeyBank National Association, OneWest Bank, and Zions Bank.
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its tax equity financing of a portfolio of 10 solar PV projects in California, totaling 84 MW.
- Represented subsidiary of sPower in its tax equity financing of a portfolio of four solar PV projects in California, totaling 26 MW.
Professional Honors & Activities
- Board Member, Green Plate Special, Apr. 2015-present
- Business Development Chair, Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, Jan. 2015-present
- Member, Food, Cosmetics and Nutraceuticals Committee, American Bar Association
- Member, American Agricultural Law Association
- Member, Operations and Technical Affairs Committee, Northwest Food Processors Association,
- Member, Planning Committee, Nutrition Law Symposium, 2014
- Agribusiness Seminar, Harvard Business School Executive Education, Jan. 2014
- Women in Agribusiness Summit, Oct. 2013
- "Overcoming the Wage Gap: Panel Discussion," Diversity Week, Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA, Feb. 25, 2015.
- "The Ethical Implications of Advising Clients on Marijuana-Related Legal Issues in Washington," Washington Women Lawyers, King County Chapter, Seattle, WA, Dec. 10, 2014.
- "Beef vs. Beer: Breweries & the Food Safety Modernization Act," Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference, American Bar Association, Portland, OR, Oct. 10, 2014
- "A Primer on Antitrust Law for Trade Associations," Operations and Technical Affairs Committee Meeting, Northwest Food Processors Association, Portland, OR, Apr. 15, 2014
- "FDA Will Likely Move to Ban Trans Fats, but the Industry is Ready for It," LXBN TV, Nov. 27, 2013
- "GMO Labeling Legislation: Status Update on Initiative 522,"Autumn Assembly, Northwest Food Processors Association, Portland, OR, Oct. 1, 2013.
- "Panel Discussion on GMO Labeling," GMO's: Agricultural Law & Biotechnology, The Seminar Group, Seattle, WA, Jul. 26, 2013
- "Looking Ahead to Washington State's Legalized Marijuana Marketplace," LXBN TV, Jan. 24, 2013
- "Food Liability 101: How to Avoid Litigation," Getting Your Recipe to Market: Entrepreneurial Development Series, Portland, OR, Oct. 16, 2012
- "Battle Over Labeling Genetically Modified Food Continues," Law360, Dec. 19, 2012
- "Stoel Rives Washington Initiative 502 Licensing Cheat Sheet (PDF)" Nov. 2012
- "Spotlight on California's Food Labeling Lunge," Law360, Sept. 7, 2012
- "California GE Ballot Initiative Could Be a Game Changer," Guide to U.S. Food Labeling Law, August 2012
- "A Call For Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods," Law360, Apr. 12, 2012
- "BPA's Expiration Date May Be On Its Way," Law360, Mar. 23, 2012
- "Student's Corner: Increased Surveillance for a Safer Food System," Update (Food and Drug Law Institute), May/June 2011
- "Case Law Update: Keepseagle v. Vilsack," Agricultural Law Update, Apr. 2011
- University of Arkansas School of Law, LL.M., Food and Agricultural Law, 2014
- Hofstra University School of Law, J.D., 2010
Articles Editor, Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal
- Villanova University, B.A., English, 2007, magna cum laude
Print to Word
- New York, Second Judicial Department