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 January 29, 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].

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Am. Petroleum Inst. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency, No. 74-1465 (10th Cir. 1976)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Industry
Government
8/11/1976
Federal
Clean Water Act

Allegations: Plaintiffs, petroleum refineries, brought an action against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging regulations promulgated by the EPA under the Clean Water Act, which would regulate pollution control that includes plastic discharge. Plaintiffs argued that the regulations promulgated by the EPA were unreasonable. Filed 08/11/1976.

Outcome: On August 11, 1976, the court upheld some of the challenged regulations where the record showed reasonable support, and remanded other regulations for reconsideration because the record failed to show support that was "sufficiently reasonable." See the opinion here.

FMC Corp. v. Train, No. 74-1386 (4th Cir. 1976)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
Industry
Government
3/10/1976
Federal
Clean Water Act

Allegations: Plaintiffs, plastics manufacturers, brought an action against the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking review of effluent limitation guidelines adopted by the EPA pursuant to the Clean Water Act.

Outcome: On March 10, 1976, the court remanded to EPA, holding that the many intangible benefits of clean water justified vesting the Administrator with broad discretion, just short of being arbitrary or capricious, in considering the cost of pollution abatement. See the opinion here.

Nat. Res. Def. Council v. Train, No. 74-1433 (D.C. Cir. 1974)

Plaintiff
Defendant
Latest Case Update
Jurisdiction
Category
NGO
Government
12/5/1974
Federal
Clean Water Act

Allegations: Plaintiff, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), brought an action against the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking to compel the EPA to publish effluent limitation guidelines called for under Section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act. The guidelines limited discharge of pollutants, which included plastic discharge.

Outcome: On December 5, 1974, the D.C. District Court granted summary judgment to NRDC. On appeal, the Circuit Court reversed in part, holding that Act did not require publication of guidelines within one year after its enactment as a nondiscretionary imperative. See the opinion here.