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Bauer and Suddarth Obtain Dismissal of Greenwashing Class Action

HeplerBroom attorney Beth Bauer HeplerBroom attorney Matthew Suddarth

Beth Bauer and Matthew Suddarth, along with a team from Weil Gotschal, recently obtained an order granting a Motion to Dismiss both a complaint and an amended complaint against a globally known sportswear manufacturer.

Plaintiff alleged in a federal court action that the defendant manufacturer misrepresented the materials used in thousands of its products as being made from recycled and sustainable materials, thereby violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and committing common law fraud. Defendant’s attorneys filed a Motion to Dismiss on the basis that the Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The judge agreed and granted the Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint. However, as the judge pointed out in his Memorandum and Order, Plaintiff repeated her charges but alleged no further information to establish how she concluded the products contained no recycled or organic fibers. Defendant’s attorneys then again moved to dismiss because the defects in the pleading were not cured by amendment. The judge agreed that the amended complaint was insufficient and misleading. Further, he noted that plaintiff’s counsel was flirting with a Rule 11 violation (pursuing an action that is not objectively reasonable based on the facts).

Bauer, a partner in the firm’s Edwardsville office, focuses her legal practice on the defense of complex, multi-party civil cases and class actions, including products liability, talc litigation, and appellate matters. She is rated an AV Preeminent Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell and was the co-recipient of Missouri Lawyers award for Top Defense Wins of 2021. She has been selected to the lists of Best Lawyers in America, Illinois Super Lawyers, and Illinois Leading Lawyers and has been named one of Illinois Super Lawyers’ Top Women Attorneys.

Suddarth, an associate in the firm’s St. Louis office, focuses his practice on trials involving the defense of complex business litigation matters, including commercial litigation, personal injury, and medical and dental malpractice. Suddarth served as a 2021 HeplerBroom Summer Associate. Prior to law school, he was a public-school music teacher.


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