This tracker was launched July 15, 2022. It was last updated October 3, 2022.
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].
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The Last Beach Cleanup v. Stater Brothers, No. 22STCV18252 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2022)
Allegations: Plaintiff, a non-profit dedicated to ending plastic pollution, alleges that defendant continues to sell non-recyclable plastic bags despite the California law banning the sale of non-recyclable plastic bags. Plaintiff seeks an order enjoining the defendant's unlawful conduct. Filed 6/3/2022. See the complaint here.
Bargetto v. Walgreen Co., No. 3:22-cv-02639 (N.D. Cal. 2022)
Allegations: Plaintiff represents a class alleging that defendant continues to sell non-recyclable plastic bags despite a California law banning the sale of non-recyclable plastic bags. The class seeks an order enjoining the defendant's unlawful conduct, as well as damages to compensate them for the deceptive practices. Filed 4/29/2022. See the complaint here.
City of Philadelphia et al. v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 42 MD 2021 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2021)
Allegations: Plaintiffs, the City of Philadelphia and other local governments, brought an action against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania seeking declarative and injunctive relief declaring a section of the state annual Fiscal Code to be unconstitutional and enjoining the state from enforcing the relevant section of the act. The Plaintiffs alleged that the relevant section of the act, which prohibits a local governmental body or agency to enact or enforce a law, rule, regulation or ordinance imposing a tax on or relation to the use, disposition, sale, prohibition or restriction of single-use plastics violated the state constitution. Filed 3/3/2021.
Outcome: On April 1, 2022, Philadelphia's plastic bag ban went into effect. Previously, this case was stayed and discontinued.
Perri v. Croskrey, No. 1:21-cv-01423 (D. Del. 2021)
Allegations: Plaintiff, Ryan Perri, brought a stockholder derivative action against members of the board of directors and upper management for Danimer Scientific, Inc. with Danimer Scientific serving as the nominal defendant, seeking declarative relief and damages for the benefit of Danimer. The Plaintiff alleged that the Individual Defendants violated Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act of 1934, breached their fiduciary duties, unjustly enriched themselves, and wasted corporate assets by making false or misleading statements that failed to disclose that Danimer had deficient internal controls, misrepresenting its operation size and regulatory compliance, overstating the biodegradability of the company product. The suit allegations are similar to those in a securities class action brought in the federal district court for the Eastern District of New York against the same Defendant. Filed 10/6/2021. See the complaint here.
Status: The case was administratively closed on March 25, 2022. The case was temporarily stayed on October 20, 2021 until the resolution of the defendants' motion to dismiss in the securities litigation.
San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper v. Formosa Plastics Corp, No. 6:17-cv-00047 (S.D. Tex. 2017)
Allegations: Plaintiff, citizens group, brought a case against Formosa Plastics Corp. seeking declaratory judgment, monetary relief, and injunctive relief. Plaintiff alleged that plastic pellet nurdles were being illegally dumped into Texas waterways without a permit in violation of permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Filed 7/31/2017.
Status: The Court affirmed the Plaintiff claim for declaratory judgment and issued monetary and injunctive relief against the Defendant with a focus on future permit violations. The court also awarded attorney's fees and sanctions for past violations. The parties agreed to a $50 million settlement over the CWA claims. Following the settlement agreement from the case in district court, the parties disagreed over whether Formosa's payment and reporting obligations are triggered only on a "new discharge" of plastics or on "visual detection" of plastics irrespective of when those plastics had actually been discharged from Formosa properties. On March 21, 2022 the US District Court (Southern District of Texas, Victoria Division) rejected Formosa’s request to pause cleanup of waterways, and ruled that the consent decree that was signed mandates that decontamination must continue until decontamination efforts do more harm than good. See the order here. Previously, the case went to the 5th circuit. San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper v. Formosa Plastics Corp., 852 Fed. Appx. 816 (5th Cir. 2021) The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The district court was instructed to reconsider the responsibilities of the Monitor in light of the Court's conclusion that the consent decree, as a whole, contemplated only post-Consent Decree discharges.
Sierra Club v. Coca Cola, No. 4:21-cv-04644 (N.D. Cal. 2021)
Allegations: Plaintiff, environmental group, brought an action against Coca-Cola and BlueTriton Brands, Inc. (formerly Nestle Waters North America, Inc.) seeking injunctive relief precluding the sale of plastic bottled water unless the packaging and marketing are modified to remove "100% Recyclable" from the labeling. The Plaintiff alleged that this marketing is unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practice in violation of California Public Policy, the California Environmental Marketing Claims Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides because the bottles are not 100% recyclable due to their material properties. Filed 6/16/21. See the complaint here.
Status: On March 8, 2022, the case was consolidated with Swartz v. Coca-Cola (No. 3:21-cv-0463). That case is pending.
Smith v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., No. 4:18-cv-06690 (N.D. Cal. 2020)
Allegations: Plaintiff, Kathleen Smith, brought a class action against Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. seeking injunctive relief enjoining Defendants misleading advertising practices and other unlawful conduct, as well as an award for damages to compensate the victims for these practices. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant violated California legislatively declared policy against misrepresenting the characteristics of goods and services, violated the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and caused damages through reliance on Defendants false representations by falsely labeling their products (single serve coffee pods) as recyclable.
Outcome: The Court granted plaintiff's motion for class certification. On February 24, 2022, the parties filed a settlement agreement, which stated that Keurig cannot label, market, advertise or otherwise represent the cups as recyclable without "clearly and prominently including a revised qualifying statement." Other terms included requirements for the qualifying language, changes to Keurig's website and other advertising, and a $10 million proposed settlement. See the motion here.
Last Beach Cleanup v. Terracycle, Inc., No. RG21090702 (Cal. Super. Ct. 2021)
Allegations: Plaintiff, environmental organization, brought an action against TerraCycle, Inc. and other plastic bottle producers seeking injunctive relief enjoining Defendants' acts of unfair competition and other unlawful practices. The Plaintiff alleged that Defendants violated California Unfair Competition Law, California False Advertising Law, and the Environmental Marketing Claims Act because Defendants advertise, market, and sell products and packaging made from single-use plastics and other materials that are difficult to recycle with an unqualified representation stating that they are recyclable with TerraCycle, Inc. Filed 3/24/21.
Outcome: On November 15, 2021, the parties reached a settlement, with the Defendant agreeing to maintain records substantiating the validity of its recycling representations, agreeing not to license or permit its name to be used on labels or advertising without compliance with the substantiation requirement, and limiting its name to be used for products that are part of an unlimited waste program. See the settlement agreement here.
Swartz v. Coca-Cola Co. No. 3:21-cv-04643 (N.D. Cal. 2021)
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 00% recyclable and omitted facts about their recyclability are disclosed. The Plaintiffs were also seeking damages for the difference between the price that consumers paid for the products and the price that they would have paid but for the Defendants' misrepresentations. The Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants marketing violated California public policy on environmental marketing claims, the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides, and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act because the 00% Recyclable marketing was false. Filed 6/16/21. See the complaint here.
Rosencrants v. Danimer Scientific, Inc., No. 1:21-cv-02708 (E.D.N.Y 2021)
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. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant violated federal securities for allegedly making false and misleading statements about the company product, including by overstating the product's biodegradability. Filed 5/14/2021. See the complaint here.