Judge Grants IBWA Preliminary Injunction in Bottle Bill Expansion Lawsuit

Today, at 1:00 p.m., Judge Thomas P. Griesa granted a motion from the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Nestle Waters North America, and Polar Beverages for a preliminary injunction, stopping New York State’s recently enacted Bottle Bill Expansion law from commencing on June 1, 2009. Additional court proceedings will now occur – although hearing dates have not yet been set. Of particular note, this ruling by Judge Griesa came from the bench at the conclusion of the hearing, which some believe indicates the strength of IBWA’s case. The Court particularly noted that provisions of the statute that require a New York State-specific UPC code be halted. The Court also granted an injunction against enforcement of the June 1 deadline. The Court requested both sides provide further information for a reasonable timeframe in which to enact a workable effective date.

A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits; is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; that the balance of equity tips in his favor; and that the injunction is in the public interest. In his oral ruling, Judge Griesa did not expressly address the so-called “sugar water” exemption. However, it is expected to be included in his formal written order to be issued in the next few days. More details will be forthcoming in tomorrow’s IBWA News Splash e-newsletter