Jim Harris Quoted in Law360 on Plastic Bag Repeal

“Dallas Ends 5-Cent Plastic Bag Fee After Manufacturer Suit”

The city of Dallas on Wednesday repealed a plastic bag ordinance that charged customers a 5 cent-per-bag fee just five months after the rule took effect, a move that will bring an end to a lawsuit that alleged the fee was preempted by state law.

Jim Harris of Thompson & Knight LLP, who represents Hilex Poly Co., Superbag Operating Ltd., The Inteplast Group Ltd. and Advance Polybag Inc., said the repeal will save both the city and the manufacturers a lot of time and money litigating an issue the manufacturers felt confident they would win on.

“The purpose for filing the lawsuit was because we felt either a fee or a ban would violate state law,” Harris said. “It seems to us that at least a majority of the council shared that view that whatever they might like to do from a policy standpoint, that both a fee and a ban would run afoul of state law and therefore chose to repeal the ordinance.”

Harris said the manufacturers have “accomplished what we wanted to accomplish” and will nonsuit the case without prejudice, allowing them to refile if the city council ever changes its mind again.