Labeling

Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives have become increasingly important in today’s business setting.  Increased awareness and heightened scrutiny of ESG-related issues, combined with third-party litigation funding, has led to a surge in ESG-related litigation and enforcement actions as consumers, regulators, and investors seek to hold companies accountable for claims about their environmental and social impact.  

This post explores the emerging trends shaping the landscape of ESG litigation, which are increasingly centralized in courts in the District of Columbia.  Such claims are often brought by nonprofit organizations seeking to take advantage of local consumer protection laws which they claim allow them standing to sue.Continue Reading A Closer Look: Developing Trends in ESG Litigation

As companies have increased efforts to represent their products as environmentally friendly, “greenwashing” lawsuits—which target companies (often under consumer protection statutes) based on allegations of false or misleading statements regarding the environmental impact of their products or practices—have also increased. A recent order from the district court in the Northern District of California illustrates the difficulty in attempting to defeat these claims before trial if a strong evidentiary record has not been developed.Continue Reading N.D. Cal. Judge Allows “Greenwashing” Claims to Proceed to Trial

A judge in the Northern District of California recently held that a purchaser of eye makeup allegedly containing eye irritants lacked standing to pursue her claims—given that the product was not banned by the FDA and did not actually harm her eyes.Continue Reading Presence of Eye Irritants in Eye Makeup Is Not Enough for Article III Injury, N.D. Cal. Judge Rules

Keurig has agreed to settle on a nationwide class basis a lawsuit alleging that the labeling of its K-Cup pods misleads consumers into believing that K-Cups are more widely recyclable than the coffee pods actually are.

The complaint, filed in 2018, alleged that Keurig marketed its products as recyclable, despite knowing that they “typically end[ed] up in landfills.” The plaintiff claimed that the packaging conveyed that consumers can “[h]ave [their] cup and recycle it, too,” by following the illustrated instructions to “PEEL,” “EMPTY,” and “RECYCLE” next to the chasing arrow recycling symbol. However, the plaintiff claimed, these labels were deceptive because K-Cups cannot be recycled due to their size, making them per se deceptive under the Green Guides, which state that “if any component [of a recyclable product] limits the ability to recycle the item, any recyclable claim would be deceptive. . . . [If] its shape, size or some other attribute is not accepted in recycling programs, [it] should not be marketed as recyclable.” The plaintiff additionally alleged that even if any pods were incidentally recycled, they would still end up in landfills because there was no downstream market for the recycled pods.Continue Reading Keurig Settles K-Cup Recycling Claims