This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 11/23/2022 at 13:41:21 (UTC).

Swartz et al v. The Coca-Cola Company et al

Case Summary

On June 1, 2021, David Swartz, Cristina Salgado, and Marcelo Muto (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, represented by Marie A. McCrary and Seth A. Safier of Gutride Safier LLP and Rajiv V. Thairani, filed a personal property fraud lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company, Bluetriton Brands, Inc., and Niagara Bottling, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking injunctive relief and damages for alleged unfair trade practices and misrepresentation. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California with Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley and Judge James Donato presiding.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs alleged, “This Complaint seeks to remedy Defendants’ unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practices with respect to the advertising, marketing, and sale of water bottled in singleuse plastic bottles labeled as ‘100% Recyclable.’”

Plaintiffs claimed, “In the wake of National Sword, environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace sought to inform the public that reusable bottles are the only truly sustainable choice. Concerned about the growing salience of this message and seeking to reassure the public about the sustainability of single-use plastics—Defendants and other plastic bottlers countered with the ‘Every Bottle Back’ initiative.”

Plaintiffs alleged, “Central to this marketing campaign is the claim ‘100% Recyclable,’ which Defendants affix to their single-use plastic water bottles. However, the plastic bottles are not “100% Recyclable” because: (i) the polypropylene (‘PP’) bottle caps and the biaxially oriented polypropylene (‘BOPP’) plastic labels on the bottles are not recyclable and cannot be processed into usable material; (ii) at least 28% of the polyethylene terephthalate (‘PET’) bottles and high-density polyethylene (‘HDPE’) bottle caps sent to recycling centers are lost in processing or are contaminated and thus end up in landfills or are burned.” 

The plaintiffs also alleged, “Defendants’ continued use of misleading and deceptive recyclability claims on their products serves to defraud the public about plastic water bottles. It falsely informs consumers that they are making an environmentally responsible choice when they purchase and dispose of Defendants’ plastic water bottles in a municipal recycling bin.”

Plaintiffs claimed that “Defendants’ single-use plastics are damaging the environment even when consumers properly dispose of the bottles in a recycling bin. If consumers knew the truth, they could make more informed decisions about consuming products that are truly sustainable. Defendants’ representations that the Products are recyclable are material, false, misleading, and likely to deceive members of the public.”

Plaintiffs presented six claims for relief, including claims for the alleged violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California Civil Code, and the Business and Professions Code. The remaining claims presented included false advertising, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, greenwashing, and unlawful and deceptive trade practices.

In the prayer for relief, the plaintiffs requested temporary and permanent injunctive relief, enjoining the defendants from continuing the alleged unlawful and deceptive business practices. The plaintiffs also requested an award for compensatory damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, treble damages, and restitution.

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    3:21-CV-04643

  • Filing Date:

    06/16/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Personal Property Fraud

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

James Donato

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

Cristina Salgado

David Swartz

Marcelo Muto

Sierra Club

Defendants

Bluetriton Brands, Inc.

The Coca-Cola Company

Niagara Bottling LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Seth Adam Safier

Attorney at Gutride Safier LLP

100 Pine Street, Suite 1250

San Francisco, CA 94111

Marie Ann McCrary

Attorney at Gutride Safier LLP

100 Pine Street, Suite 1250

San Francisco, CA 94111

Rajiv V. Thairani

375 Bellevue Ave. Apt 308

Oakland, CA 94610

Defendant Attorneys

Bion Piepmeier

Attorney at BlueTriton Brands, Inc.

900 Long Ridge Road

Stamford, CT 06902

Dawn Sestito

Attorney at OMelveny and Myers LLP

400 South Hope Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071-2899

Hannah Y. Chanoine

Attorney at O'Melveny and Myers LLP

7 Times Square

New York, NY 10036

Raymond Collins Kilgore

Attorney at OMelveny and Myers LLP

400 S. Hope Street, 18Th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 91801

Gary T. Lafayette

Attorney at Lafayette & Kumagai LLP

1300 Clay Street, Suite 810

Oakland, CA 94612

Jane Marie Metcalf

Attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

1133 Avenue Of The Americas

New York, NY 10036

Gabriela Bersuder

Attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

1133 Avenue Of The Americas

New York, NY 10036

Ian Cunningham Kerr

Attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

1133 Avenue Of The Americas

New York, NY 10036

Steven A. Zalesin

Attorney at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

1133 Avenue Of The Americas

New York, NY 10036-6710

Creighton R Magid

Attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP

1401 New York Avenue Nw, Suite 900

Washington, DC 20005

Kent Jeffrey Schmidt

Attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP

600 Anton Boulevard, Suite 2000

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Jill A. Gutierrez

Attorney at Dorsey & Whitney LLP

600 Anton Boulevard, Suite 2000

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

 

Court Documents

#99

(#99) ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS. Signed by Judge James Donato on 11/18/2022. (jdlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/18/2022) (Entered: 11/18/2022)

#98

(#98) Discovery Letter Brief in Response to Plaintiffs' October 21, 2022 Letter Motion to Compel filed by The Coca-Cola Company. (Lafayette, Gary) (Filed on 11/16/2022) (Entered: 11/16/2022)

#97

(#97) Response to Plaintiffs' October 20, 2022 Letter Regarding Discovery Dispute filed by Niagara Bottling LLC. (Schmidt, Kent) (Filed on 11/15/2022) Modified on 11/15/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/15/2022)

#96

(#96) Discovery Letter Brief Re Discovery Dispute Regarding Plaintiff's Refusal to Respond to Niagara Bottling's Discovery filed by Niagara Bottling LLC. (Schmidt, Kent) (Filed on 11/3/2022) Modified on 11/4/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/03/2022)

#94

(#94) ORDER by Judge James Donato granting #92 Motion for Pro Hac Vice as to Ian C. Kerr. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/25/2022) (Entered: 10/25/2022)

93 #1

Exhibit 1

93 #93

Main Document

92 #1

Certificate of Good Standing

92 #92

Main Document

#9

#8

#7

#6

#4

#3

#2

1 #1

Civil Cover Sheet

#1

104 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 11/18/2022
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  • Docket(#99) ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS. Signed by Judge James Donato on 11/18/2022. (jdlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/18/2022) (Entered: 11/18/2022)

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  • 11/16/2022
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  • Docket(#98) Discovery Letter Brief in Response to Plaintiffs' October 21, 2022 Letter Motion to Compel filed by The Coca-Cola Company. (Lafayette, Gary) (Filed on 11/16/2022) (Entered: 11/16/2022)

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  • 11/15/2022
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  • Docket(#97) Response to Plaintiffs' October 20, 2022 Letter Regarding Discovery Dispute filed by Niagara Bottling LLC. (Schmidt, Kent) (Filed on 11/15/2022) Modified on 11/15/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/15/2022)

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  • 11/03/2022
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  • Docket(#96) Discovery Letter Brief Re Discovery Dispute Regarding Plaintiff's Refusal to Respond to Niagara Bottling's Discovery filed by Niagara Bottling LLC. (Schmidt, Kent) (Filed on 11/3/2022) Modified on 11/4/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/03/2022)

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  • 10/26/2022
  • Docket(#95) ORDER. For Dkt. Nos. 91, 93, defendants are directed to file responsive letters by November 16, 2022, in the format required by the Court's Standing Order for Civil Discovery. Signed by Judge James Donato on 10/26/2022. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (jdlc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/26/2022) (Entered: 10/26/2022)

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  • 10/25/2022
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  • Docket(#94) ORDER by Judge James Donato granting #92 Motion for Pro Hac Vice as to Ian C. Kerr. (lrc, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/25/2022) (Entered: 10/25/2022)

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  • 10/21/2022
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  • Docket(#93) Second Discovery Letter Brief RE Coca-Cola's ESI Searches and Deletions filed by Marcelo Muto, Cristina Salgado, Sierra Club, David Swartz. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1)(Thairani, Rajiv) (Filed on 10/21/2022) (Entered: 10/21/2022)

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  • 10/21/2022
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  • Docket(#92) MOTION for leave to appear in Pro Hac Vice ( Filing fee $ 317, receipt number ACANDC-17650380.) filed by The Coca-Cola Company. (Attachments: #1 Certificate of Good Standing)(Kerr, Ian) (Filed on 10/21/2022) (Entered: 10/21/2022)

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  • 10/21/2022
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  • Docket(#91) First Discovery Letter Brief Against Niagara RE Scope of Discovery filed by Marcelo Muto, Cristina Salgado, David Swartz. (Thairani, Rajiv) (Filed on 10/21/2022) Modified on 10/21/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 10/21/2022)

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  • 09/26/2022
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  • Docket(#90) JOINT MOTION TO AMEND THE CASE SCHEDULE filed by Marcelo Muto, Cristina Salgado, Sierra Club, David Swartz, Bluetriton Brands, Inc., Niagara Bottling LLC, The Coca-Cola Company. Responses due by 9/30/2022. (Attachments: #1 Declaration Thairani, #2 Proposed Order)(Thairani, Rajiv) (Filed on 9/26/2022) Modified on 9/27/2022 (cjl, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 09/26/2022)

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81 More Docket Entries
  • 07/13/2021
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  • Docket(#10) CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by The Coca-Cola Company.. (Lafayette, Gary) (Filed on 7/13/2021) (Entered: 07/13/2021)

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  • 07/06/2021
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  • Docket(#9) CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Marcelo Muto, Cristina Salgado, David Swartz.. (Safier, Seth) (Filed on 7/6/2021) (Entered: 07/06/2021)

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  • 07/06/2021
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  • Docket(#8) CLERK'S NOTICE Re: Consent or Declination: Plaintiff shall file a consent or declination to proceed before a magistrate judge by July 20, 2021. Note that any party is free to withhold consent to proceed before a magistrate judge without adverse substantive consequences. The forms are available at: http://cand.uscourts.gov/civilforms. (ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/6/2021) (Entered: 07/06/2021)

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  • 06/17/2021
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  • Docket(#7) Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Joint Case Management Statement due by 9/9/2021. Initial Case Management Conference set for 9/16/2021 at 1:30 PM in San Francisco, Courtroom E, 15th Floor. (tnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/17/2021) (Entered: 06/17/2021)

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  • 06/17/2021
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  • Docket(#6) Summons Issued as to Defendants Bluetriton Brands, Inc., Niagara Brands, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company. (tnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/17/2021) (Entered: 06/17/2021)

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  • 06/16/2021
  • Docket(#5) Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening.Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 6/30/2021. (bwS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/16/2021) (Entered: 06/16/2021)

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  • 06/16/2021
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  • Docket(#4) Proposed Summons. (Safier, Seth) (Filed on 6/16/2021) (Entered: 06/16/2021)

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  • 06/16/2021
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  • Docket(#3) Proposed Summons. (Safier, Seth) (Filed on 6/16/2021) (Entered: 06/16/2021)

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  • 06/16/2021
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  • Docket(#2) Proposed Summons. (Safier, Seth) (Filed on 6/16/2021) (Entered: 06/16/2021)

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  • 06/16/2021
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  • Docket(#1) CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CALIFORNIA CONSUMERS LEGAL REMEDIES ACT; FALSE ADVERTISING; FRAUD, DECEIT, AND/OR MISREPRESENTATION; NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION; VIOLATION OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMS ACT; AND UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES; JURY TRIAL DEMANDED against All Defendants, (Filing Fee: $402.00, receipt number 0971-16082962). Filed by David Swartz, Marcelo Muto, Cristina Salgado. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Safier, Seth) (Filed on 6/16/2021) Modified on 6/17/2021 (tnS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 06/16/2021)

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