Wiley Rein Assists Client To Secure Significant Win In Environmental Advertising Case

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 01:00

In a proceeding before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau, Wiley Rein client Continental Products has successfully challenged the advertising claims of GP Plastics, a competing provider of plastic bags for the delivery of newspapers. Among the primary claims challenged were that GP's plastic bags are: "100% oxo-biodegradable," "disposable through ordinary channels," go "from front lawn to waste bins to the landfill," "completely recyclable" and a whole series of general claims of environmental benefits, such as "eco-friendly," "environmentally friendly," promising a "green tomorrow" and "saving the planet." Continental prevailed on every one of these challenges, with the NAD ruling that GP did not provide adequate substantiation for any of these claims. The NAD further recommended that GP discontinue all such claims. GP Plastics has indicated that it plans to appeal the NAD decision to the National Advertising Review Board.

This is a significant decision since the disposition of plastic bags has become a prominent and contentious environmental issue in numerous states, including New York, California and Minnesota.

Jan W. Baran, Wiley Rein's Election Law and Government Ethics Practice chair, was quoted in an article about potential appointees in President-elect Barack Obama's administration and their surplus campaign cash that could benefit both parties' political committees. As reported, both Senate and House members under consideration for Cabinet posts in the new administration have more than $20 million in surplus cash that could be transferred to party committees, giving them a significant edge. Mr. Baran stated that those who join the Obama administration could keep their campaign cash "on ice" to finance their post-White House political careers, as long as they don't run afoul of administration ethics restrictions. "They can invest the money, so they can earn interest, but they wouldn't necessarily be taking contributions or spending money for political purposes while they're serving in the administration," he explained. "They might have to pay someone to file FEC reports and tax returns. It would basically be on ice until their service is completed and then they could run for office again or convert it into a PAC," Mr. Baran added.

At a volunteer appreciation event held earlier this month, Wiley Rein and several of its attorneys were recognized for more than a decade of service to the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH).

Wiley Rein attorneys manage one of WLCH's intake centers at the Church of the Brethren in Southeast Washington, DC, which also operates a soup kitchen, where they meet once a month with potential clients and provide legal guidance on such issues as housing, disability, benefits and public assistance.