Plastics Litigation Tracker

Guarini Center on Energy, Environment, and Land Use Law State Energy and Environmental Impact Center

This track­er was launched July 15, 2022. It was last updat­ed May 24, 2024.

The Plastics Litigation Tracker tracks cases addressing plastics across federal and state courts. It includes resolved cases and cases that are still pending. The cases can be filtered by category, plaintiff, defendant, and jurisdiction. They are listed in reverse chronological order based on the date of the latest update in each case. Where there is no decision, the cases will appear in alphabetical order. Descriptions of the categories can be found here. This blog post gives an introduction to the project and analyzes trends evident from the cases in the tracker at the time it was launched.

The tracker will be updated as cases are resolved and new cases are filed. To submit cases, updates, or corrections to this database, please email [email protected].

For any inquiries, please contact [email protected].

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Daly v. The Wonderful Company LLC, Docket No. 1:24-cv-01267 (2024

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
5/10/2024
Illinois
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, a consumer who purchased “Fiji” bottled water, alleges individually and on behalf of all other members of the public similarly situated, that Defendant, The Wonderful Company, LLC, a company that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes bottled water under the brand name “Fiji,” violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Plaintiff argued that Defendant made false and misleading claims when it marketed its product as “Natural Artisan Water,” when it contains microplastics. Plaintiff argued that Defendant’s deceptive practices deprived Plaintiff of their legally protected interest to obtain accurate information about the product they are consuming. Filed on 2/14/2024. See the complaint here.

Status: This case is pending. On March 22, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. On April 26, Plaintiff responded to the motion to dismiss. On May 10, Defendant filed a reply in support of its motion to dismiss. A hearing is scheduled for May 20, and a status hearing will be set once the motion is ruled upon.

Perry Bruno v. BlueTriton Brands, Inc., Docket No. 2:24-cv-01563 (2024)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
5/6/2024
California
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, a consumer who purchased "Arrowhead" plastic bottled water, alleges individually and on behalf of all other members of the public similarly situated, that Defendant, BlueTriton Brands, Inc., a corporation that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes plastic bottled water under the brand name "Arrowhead," violated California's Unfair Competition Law §§ 17200 and 17500. Plaintiff argued that Defendant intentionally labeled its products with false and misleading claims that the bottled water was "100% Mountain Spring Water," when it contained microplastics. Plaintiffs argued that bottled water contaminated with microplastics cannot be "100% Mountain Spring Water," and that consumers would not expect that a product labeled in this way would contain microplastic contaminants. Filed on 02/26/2024. See the complaint here.

Status: This case is pending. On March 4, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. On March 18, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint, and on March 19, the court dismissed Defendant's motion to dismiss as moot. On April 1, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's first amended complaint. On May 6, the court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss, with leave to amend. The court ordered that Plaintiff's second amended complaint, should it choose to file one, is due May 28, 2024.

Michael Dotson et al v. CG Roxane LLC, Docket No. 2:24-cv-02567 (2024)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
4/25/2024
California
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, a consumer who purchased "Crystal Geyser" plastic bottled water, alleges individually and on behalf of a putative class, that Defendant, CG Roxane, LLC, a corporation that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes plastic bottled water under the brand name "Crystal Geyser," violated California's Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Business & Professions Code § 17200) and violated California's False Advertising Law (Cal. Business & Professions Code § 17500) by advertising and labeling Crystal Geyer plastic bottled water as "Natural Alpine Spring Water" when the water allegedly contains microplastics. Plaintiff filed the complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. Filed on 02/22/2024.

Outcome: Closed. On April 1, the case was removed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division - Los Angeles). On April 25, Plaintiff filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice, noting that Defendant had neither answered Plaintiff's complaint nor filed a motion for summary judgment.

Michael Dotson v. Danone Waters of America, LLC, Docket No. 2:24-cv-02445 (2024)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
4/3/2024
California
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, a consumer who purchased "Evian" plastic bottled water, alleges individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, that Defendant, Danone Waters of America, LLC, a corporation that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes plastic bottled water under the brand name "Evian," violated California's Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Business & Professions Code §§ 17200 and 17500) by advertising and labeling Evian plastic bottled water as "Natural Spring Water" when the water contains microplastics. Plaintiff filed the complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles. Filed on 03/25/2024. See the complaint here.

Outcome: Closed. On March 28, the case was removed to the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division - Los Angeles). On April 3, Plaintiff filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice, noting that Plaintiff's counsel had conferred with Defendant's counsel, and that Defendant did not oppose dismissal.

Slowinski et al. v. BlueTriton Brands, Inc., Docket No. 1:24-cv-00513 (2024)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
3/18/2024
Illinois
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiffs, a class of consumers who purchased plastic bottled water, brought this case against Defendant, BlueTriton Brands, Inc., a corporation that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes plastic bottled water under the brand name "Ice Mountain," seeking damages and injunctive relief for violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS 505/1, common law fraud, and unjust enrichment, for intentionally labeling its plastic bottled water as "100% Natural Spring Water," when the water contains microplastics. Plaintiffs argued that bottled water contaminated with microplastics cannot be 100% natural spring water, and that reasonable consumers do not expect that a product labeled as "100% Natural" would contain synthetic contaminants. Filed on 01/19/2024. See the complaint here.

Status: This case is pending. On February 26, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff filed a response on March 18, and the court has yet to rule on the motions.

Moore v. Bluetriton Brands, Inc., Docket No. 1:24-cv-01640 (2024)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
3/5/2024
New York
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, a consumer who purchased "Poland Spring" plastic bottled water, brought a consumer protection and false advertising class action case (individually and on behalf of a nation-wide class and a New York sub-class) againt Defendant, Bluetrison Brands, Inc., a corporation that advertises, markets, sells, and distributes plastic bottled water under the brand name "Poland Spring." Plaintiff raised five claims: breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment (a common law claim for restitution), negligent misrepresentation, and violations of New York Business Law §§ 349 and 350 (with claims four and five relating to the New York sub-class only). Plaintiff argued that Defendant labeled and advertised its Poland Spring bottled water as being "100% Natural Spring Water," which is false for two reasons. First, Plaintiff argues that the water "contains alarming levels of phthalates in each bottle, a synthetic chemical used as a plasticizer, increasing the flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity of plastic products." Plaintiff explains that "[s]cientific studies have linked phthalates to numerous concerning and severe health effects, including heart problems and hormone disruption" and that "[t]here is currently no level of phthalates in food or beverages that is considered safe for consumption." Second, Plaintiff argues that "every bottle of Poland Spring contains dangerous levels of microplastics." Plaintiff seeks injunctive and declaratory relief. Filed on 03/5/2024. See the complaint here.

Status: Pending. An in-person motion conference is scheduled for June 18.

Dorris v. Danone Waters of America, Docket No. 7:22-cv-08717 (2022)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
1/30/2024
New York
False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiffs, a class of consumers who purchased Defendant's product, "Evian Natural Spring Water" bottled water, brought this action alleging that Defendant's labeling and packaging falsely misled consumers to believe that the manufacturing of the bottles was "sustainable," "carbon neutral," and "did not leave a carbon footprint." Plaintiffs raised the following claims: (i) violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), Cal. Civil Code §§ 1750, et seq., (ii) violation of New York General Business Law (“GBL”) § 349, (iii) violation of GBL § 350, (iv) breach of express warranty, (v) breach of implied warranty, (vi) unjust enrichment, and (vii) fraud. In their complaint, Plaintiffs also argued that even if Defendant construes "carbon neutral" to mean that the carbon emissions created during the production of the plastic water bottles are "offset" by the "carbon credits" purchased by Defendant, such a representation would still be false, because "organizations Defendant works with that are the basis for its 'carbon credits' do not currently or actually reduce CO2 emissions, and thus do not 'offset' the CO2 emissions created by Defendant's production of the product in any manner." Plaintiffs sought: (i) an order certifying the class; (ii) an order declaring that Defendant's conduct violates the statutes listed in the complaint; (iii) an order finding in favor of Plaintiffs on the grounds listed in their complaint; (iv) compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages; (v) prejudgment interest in all amounts awarded; (vi) restitution; and (vii) attorney's fees. Filed on 10/13/2022. See the complaint here.

Status: This case is pending. On January 5, 2023, Plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint, which includes the same claims raised in Plaintiff's original complaint, but adds an additional claim: that Defendant's misrepresentation that its products were "carbon neutral" also violated Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 93a. On April 27, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's first amended complaint, as well as a memorandum of law in support of its motion. On the same day, Plaintiffs filed a memorandum of law opposing Defendant's motion to dismiss. On January 10, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted in part and denied in part Defendant's motion to dismiss. The court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for (1) violation of GBL § 349; (2) violation of GBL § 350; and (3) breach of implied warranty. It dismissed these claims without prejudice. The court also denied Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims for (1) violation of Chapter 93A; (2) violation of CLRA; (3) breach of express warranty; (4) unjust enrichment; and (5) fraud. The court explained that because Plaintiffs' first amended complaint was the first complaint for which motion practice occurred, the claims it dismissed are deemed dismissed without prejudice and the parties are granted leave to file amended pleadings. Specifically, the court granted Plaintiffs leave to file a second amended complaint by February 2, 2024, consistent with the court's January 10 order. The court advised Plaintiffs that the second amended complaint would replace, not supplement, the first amended complaint, and so any claims that Plaintiffs wish to pursue must be included in, or attached to, the second amended complaint. It also noted that should Plaintiffs file a second amended complaint, Defendant must answer or otherwise respond by March 4, 2024. Finally, it explained that should Plaintiffs fail to file a second amended complaint within the time allowed, those claims that were dismissed without prejudice will be deemed dismissed with prejudice. On January 30, the parties filed a joint letter seeking an extension of time to complete motions for partial reconsideration of the court's order denying in part and granting in part Defendant's motion to dismiss. The court granted the parties' request on January 31, and ordered that motions are due by March 27. In its order, the court also stayed the deadline for Plaintiff's second amended complaint until the court issues a decision on the motions. The parties filed their motions on March 27.

State of New York, by its Attorney General, Letitia James, v. Pepsico, Inc., Frito-Lay, Inc., and Frito-Lay North America, Inc., NYSCEF DOC. NO. Docket No. 814682/2023 (2023)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Industry
Government
12/19/2023
New York
Environmental Protection; Public Nuisance; False Advertising

Allegations: Plaintiff, the State of New York, led by its AG Letitia James, brought an action against Defendants PepsiCo, Inc., Frito-Lay, Inc., and Frito-Lay North America, Inc., raising four causes of action: (1) public nuisance; (2) strict products liability: failure to warn; (3) violation of New York General Business Law § 349; and (4) repeated and persistent illegality in violation of New York Executive Law § 63(12). AG James seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief for Defendants' failure to remedy harms and abate the public nuisance caused by its continued manufacturing, production, marketing, distribution, and sale of vast quantities of single-use plastic packaging. AG James argues that PepsiCo's single-use plastics "have become a dominant form of pollution in urban watersheds such as the Buffalo River," far exceeding any other source of identifiable waste found along the shorelines of the river and its tributaries. She explains that PepsiCo's single-use plastic products and packaging harms wildlife and interferes with the public's ability to use the river, and that microplastics and nanoplastics -- created when these single-use plastic items fragment into smaller pieces of plastic -- threaten freshwater ecosystems and human health. AG James states that microplastics have been detected in the City of Buffalo's drinking water supply and in popular game fish species in the river commonly consumed by the Buffalo community. She also argues that PepsiCo made misleading statements about the efficacy of plastic recycling and its efforts to combat plastic pollution, and that PepsiCo failed to warn consumers and the public about the risk of harm from its single-use plastic packaging. Filed 11/15/2023. See the complaint here.

Status: This case is pending. This case was originally filed in the New York Supreme Court, Erie County, but on December 19, 2023, PepsiCo filed a motion requesting that the case be assigned to the New York Commercial Division. The motion was granted on January 25, 2024, and the case was assigned to the Commercial Division. The parties will meet for a status conference on July 12.

Swartz v. Coca-Cola Co. No. 3:21-cv-04643 (N.D. Cal. 2021)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
11/3/2023
Federal
Environmental Protection; False Advertising; Unfair Competition; Consumer Protection

Allegations: Plaintiffs, David Swartz, Cristina Salgado, and Marcelo Muto, brought a class action against Coca-Cola Co., Bluetriton Brands, Inc., and Niagara Bottling, LLC (plastic bottle producers), seeking an injunction precluding the sale of plastic bottled water, unless the products' packaging and marketing are modified to remove "100% recyclable" and to disclose currently-omitted facts about their recyclability. Plaintiffs also sought damages for the difference between the price that consumers paid for the products and the price that they would have paid but for Defendants' misrepresentations. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants' marketing violated California's public policy on environmental marketing claims, the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides, and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act because the "100% Recyclable" marketing was false. Filed 6/16/21. See the complaint here.

Status: Pending. On September 27, 2021, separate motions to dismiss were filed by each defendant: Coca-Cola Co., Bluetriton Brands, Inc., and Niagara Bottling, LLC. On November 2, the court issued an order directing Defendants to file a single, consolidated motion to dismiss and/or sever. It terminated the three motions as moot. On March 24, 2022, Plaintiff filed a consolidated amended complaint. On April 22, Defendants filed a consolidated motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to Defendants' motion on May 13. Defendants filed a reply on May 27. On November 18, the court granted Defendants' consolidated motion and dismissed Plaintiffs' consolidated amended complaint. It found that Plaintiffs had failed to meet their "initial burden of pleading 'factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged' as informed by 'judicial experience and common sense.'" The court explained that reasonable consumers would not believe that each component of plastic bottles bearing the language "100% Recyclable" on their packaging would always be recycled and made into new bottles; instead, they would believe that the bottles were capable of being recycled. It also found that Plaintiffs' characterization of "recyclable" was inconsistent with the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides definition of the term. Finally, it stated that Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint by December 9, 2022. On December 9, Plaintiffs filed a first amended consolidated complaint. On December 19, the court issued an order directing Defendants to respond to Plaintiffs' first amended consolidated complaint by January 9, 2023, or to file a motion to dismiss by January 30. On January 9, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' first amended consolidated complaint. On July 27, the court granted Defendants' motion and dismissed Plaintiffs' first amended consolidated complaint. It stated that although Plaintiffs' interpretation of "100% Recyclable" was more reasonable in this complaint than in their earlier complaints, Plaintiffs still do "not plausibly allege that defendants' recycling allegations are actionable." The court explained that Plaintiffs failed to provide facts in their complaint supporting their allegations that the bottles are not "100% recyclable in their entirety" because "a substantial majority of recycling programs in California do not recycle the polypropylene (‘PP’) and high-density polyethylene (‘HDPE’) bottle caps and the biaxially oriented polypropylene (‘BOPP’) plastic labels on the bottles." The court also noted how the Green Guides permit marketers to exclude "minor incidental components"--including plastic bottle caps and labels--from their claims concerning a product's recyclability. Finally, the court stated that Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint by August 17. On August 17, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. Defendants' filed a joint motion to dismiss on September 22. Plaintiffs filed a response and opposition on October 20, and Defendants' filed a reply on November 3. On December 1, the court issued an order explaining that Defendants' motion to dismiss was suitable for a decision without having an oral argument. Therefore, the hearing that had been scheduled for December 7 was vacated. On April 8, 2024, the court issued an order denying the motion to dismiss, where it found that plaintiffs' allegations "allow a plausible inference that defendants’ products are not capable of being '100%' recycled by plants in California," which "is enough for the deception claims to move forward." On May 17, the court issued an amended case management scheduling order, which includes the following deadlines: Close of Expert Discovery - 3/21/2025; Close of Fact Discovery - 12/22/2024; Designation of Experts - 1/24/2025; Dispositive Motions - 5/9/2025; and Rebuttal Reports - 2/28/2025. The court also set jury selection to begin on 12/1/2025, and jury trial to begin on 12/1/2025.

In re Danimer Scientific, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 1:21-cv-02708 (E.D.N.Y 2021)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Class Action
Industry
10/27/2023
Federal
Greenwashing; Federal Securities Class Action

Allegations: Plaintiff, Darryl Keith Rosencrants, brought a securities class action against Danimer Scientific, Inc. (a company that produces a biodegradable plastic alternative) and its officers, seeking damages under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated federal securities law by making false and misleading statements about the company's product, including by overstating the product's biodegradability. Filed 5/14/2021. See the complaint here.

Status: Appeal pending. On May 31, 2022, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. The case was reassigned to a new judge in January 2023. On October 2, 2023, the court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss. On October 27, Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.