State Fighting Bottle-Bill Ruling

ALBANY—After a federal judge threw out the state's expanded bottle law last month in response to a lawsuit by some major bottlers, government lawyers filed a motion Wednesday calling on the judge to reconsider.

The motion seeks to modify a ruling by Judge Thomas Griesa, which stopped all aspects of the law until April 1, 2010. State officials agreed that a provision calling for a New York-specific UPC code needed to be looked at, but were counting on the measure to provide $115 million in revenue by sending unclaimed deposits (the nickels from bottles of soda, beer, and now bottled water that are never claimed by careless consumers) to the state rather than the bottlers.

The state's lawyers argued that Griesa's ruling be modified to apply only to the U.P.C. code. Failing that, it asked the bond submitted by the bottlers who sued be increased to $115 million, the amount of money the state is projecting.

"The Court has already ruled that provisions of the Bottle Bill violate the U.S. Constitution," said Brian Flaherty, a spokesman for Nestle Waters. "But rather than fixing the bill, the Attorney General's office is seeking to place a tax on anyone who would bring a challenge to the state when it tramples on the Constitution."

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Cuomo rebutted Flaherty's claim, saying, "it is misleading and absurd for Nestle (a multinational corporation that derives hundreds of millions of dollars of revenues from this State) to suggest that efforts to redress this error, as well as the State’s request to obtain a bond that will protect its financial interest, is a “price tag” on their constitutional right.  In reality, the State’s application is designed to narrow the injunction in accordance with Nestle’s own application and to ensure that Nestle and other similarly situated corporations do not receive a windfall at the expense of New York State citizens."

Bottle Bill Counter Claim State Fighting Bottle-Bill Ruling