Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did I receive the Notice?
- What is this lawsuit about?
- Why is the lawsuit a class action?
- Why is there a settlement?
- How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
- What if I am still not sure whether I am part of the Settlement?
- What does the Settlement provide?
- What can I get from the Settlement?
- What am I giving up to receive a payment or stay in the Settlement Class?
- Where can I find out about the rights that I give up if I stay in the Settlement Class?
- How do I file a Claim Form for a check payment?
- What happens if my contact information changes after I submit a claim?
- When will I receive my payment?
- Do I have lawyers in this case?
- How will Class Counsel be paid?
- How do I get out of the Settlement?
- If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment from the Settlement?
- If I do not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?
- How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
- What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
- When will the Court rule on the Settlement?
- What happens if I do nothing at all?
- How do I get more information?
Why did I receive the Notice?
An Illinois state court authorized the Notice because you have the right to know about the Settlement of this class action lawsuit, and about all of your rights and options, before the Court decides whether to grant final approval to the Settlement. The Notice and this website explain the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.
The case is known as Gudgel et al. v. Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. et al., Case No. 23LA00000486. The people who filed this lawsuit are called Plaintiffs, and the companies they sued are Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products, LLC.
To view a copy of the Notice, click here.Back To Top
What is this lawsuit about?
'Plaintiffs allege that Reynolds violated certain laws by mislabeling the recycling bags listed in Exhibit A of the Settlement Agreement and here. Plaintiffs allege that these representations were misleading because “Recycling” trash bags are not recyclable at many solid waste disposal facilities and are not suitable for the disposal of recyclable products at solid waste disposal facilities. Plaintiffs allege claims for violation of Illinois’ consumer protection laws and for common-law fraud.
Reynolds denies all the allegations made by Plaintiffs and all charges of wrongdoing or liability against it arising out of any of the conduct, statements, acts, or omissions alleged, or that could have been alleged against it by Plaintiffs either on an individual basis or on behalf of a class.Back To Top
What is a class action?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more person(s) called the named plaintiff to sue on behalf of other persons and entities that have similar claims. The people and entities together are a “Settlement Class.” One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Settlement Class, except for those people who choose to exclude themselves (opt out) from the Settlement Class.Back To Top
Why is there a settlement?
To resolve this matter without the delay and uncertainties of litigation, the Parties have reached a settlement. The Settlement requires the Defendant to pay money to the Settlement Class, as well as settlement administration expenses, attorneys’ fees, costs to Class Counsel, and an Incentive Award to the Class Representative.Back To Top
How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?
You are a member of a “Settlement Class” if you are a consumer in the United States who purchased the Products listed in Exhibit A of the Settlement Agreement and here between July 20, 2018, and August 30, 2023. Generally, the Products include clear and blue transparent Recycling bags sold under the Hefty and/or Great Value brands. Opaque black and/or white-colored trash bags sold under the Hefty and/or Great Value brands (including but not limited to those sold under the Hefty Strong, Hefty Ultra Strong, Hefty Small Trash, Hefty Medium Trash, Hefty Contractor, Hefty Ultra Strong Renew, Great Value Strong Flex, Great Value Medium Trash, Great Value Small Trash, Great Value Kitchen, Great Value Multi-Purpose, Great Value Lawn & Leaf, Great Value Outdoor, and Great Value Sustainable Strong Flex product lines), Hefty Composting bags, and Hefty Energy Bags are excluded from this Settlement.
Specifically excluded from the Settlement Class are the following:
- all manufacturers, distributors, retailers, sellers, and resellers of the Products listed in Exhibit A, including Reynolds and Walmart Inc., together with each and all of their respective present or former parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, predecessors, successors and assigns, and each and all of its respective present or former members, officers, directors, managers, employees, employers, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, commercial bank landers, insurers, investment bankers, representatives, general and limited partners and partnerships, co-manufacturers, distributors, any trust of which they are a settlor, trustee, or beneficiary, heirs, executors, administrators, successors, affiliates, and assigns of each of them;
- any government entities;
- persons who purchased the Products for the purpose of resale;
- persons who purchased the Products for business or commercial use;
- persons who made a valid, timely request for exclusion; and
- the judge presiding over the Action and the Hon. Wayne Andersen (Ret.), and any members of their immediate families.
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What if I am still not sure whether I am part of the Settlement?
If you are still not sure whether you are a member of the Settlement Class, you may call the Claim Administrator toll-free at 1-877-272-3437, or send an email to info@RecyclingBagSettlement.com.Back To Top
What does the Settlement provide?
As a result of the Settlement, Reynolds has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $3,000,000. Check payments from the Settlement Fund will be paid to members of the Settlement Class who submit timely, valid, and approved claims as described in FAQ 11.
This amount does not include the costs of the Claim Administrator, Attorneys’ Fees and Costs, and the Service Awards, which shall be paid separately by Defendant.Back To Top
What can I get from the Settlement?
Members of the Settlement Class are eligible to receive a check payment. To be eligible for a payment, you might had submitted a timely and valid Claim Form by December 13, 2023.
A Settlement Class Member who submits a Valid Claim shall receive a check payment of $2.00 for each Product (listed in Exhibit A of the Settlement Agreement and shown here) purchased by the Settlement Class Member. A Settlement Class Member does not have to provide Proof of Purchase for the first six (6) Products claimed for a total of twelve dollars ($12). Proof of Purchase is required for every Product claimed over six (6) Products. A Settlement Class Member can make a claim of up to twenty-five (25) Products for a total of fifty dollars ($50). The total payment due to the Settlement Class Member will be provided via a single check payable to the Settlement Class Member.
Each Household is limited to, and may only submit, a single Claim Form and will receive no more than one check payment.Back To Top
What am I giving up to receive a payment or stay in the Settlement Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you will remain in the Settlement Class. The Settlement is approved hence, all the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. You will not be able to sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against the Defendants and Released Persons about the legal claims in this case that are released by the Settlement Agreement. The rights you are giving up are discussed in the Settlement Agreement.Back To Top
Where can I find out about the rights that I give up if I stay in the Settlement Class?
The rights that you give up if you stay in the Settlement Class are discussed in the Settlement Agreement in section VII (titled “Releases”), section II (2.31) (titled “Released Claims”), and section II (2.32) (titled “Released Parties”), which describe the Settlements’ release, the Released Claims, and the Released Parties in necessary legal terminology. Please read these sections carefully.
The Settlement Agreement is available here. For questions regarding the Releases or what they mean, you can also contact the lawyer listed in FAQ 14 for free, or you can talk to your own lawyer at your own expense.Back To Top
How do I file a Claim Form for a check payment?
The deadline to file a claim was December 13, 2023, and has been passed. We are no longer accepting claims.Back To Top
What happens if my contact information changes after I submit a claim?
If you change your mailing address or email address after you submit a Claim Form, it is your responsibility to inform the Claim Administrator of your updated information. You may notify the Claim Administrator of any changes at:
Gudgel et al. v. Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. et al.
c/o Claim Administrator
P.O. Box 2197
Portland, OR 97208-2197
If applicable, please provide your Confirmation Code from your online Claim Form. Please note that updates provided to the Claim Administrator will only update our database, which relates to communications and mailings in conjunction with this Settlement.Back To Top
When will I receive my payment?
Valid Claims shall be paid within one hundred and fifty (150) days after Final Approval unless otherwise ordered by the Court. If the appeal challenges any other aspect of the Settlement, Valid Claims shall be paid sixty (60) days after the Effective Date.
The court granted Final Approval on November 15, 2023. Please be patient and check this website for updates.Back To Top
Do I have lawyers in this case?
The Court has appointed attorneys from the law firms of Reese LLP and The Wright Law Office, P.A. to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members. The lawyers are called Class Counsel or Plaintiffs’ Counsel. They are experienced in handling similar class action cases. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
You may contact Class Counsel if you have any questions about this Settlement. Please do not contact the Court.
Michael R. Reese, Esq.
100 West 93rd Street, 16th Floor
New York, New York 10025
THE WRIGHT LAW OFFICE, P.A.
William Wright, Esq.
515 N. Flagler Drive
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
How will Class Counsel be paid?
Class Counsel will file a motion asking the Court for an award from the Defendant of its attorneys’ fees and costs in a total amount of no more than $975,000. Class Counsel will also ask the Court to approve Service Awards not to exceed $5,000 each (for a total of $10,000) to the named class representatives for participating in this litigation for their efforts in achieving the Settlement. If awarded by the Court, these attorneys’ fees, expenses, and Service Awards will be paid by the Defendant. The Court may award less than these amounts for attorneys’ fees, costs, and Service Awards.
Class Counsel’s motion for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and Service Awards will be made available on this Settlement Website before the deadline for you to object to the Settlement.Back To Top
How do I get out of the Settlement?
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement passed on October 25, 2023.Back To Top
If I exclude myself, can I still get a payment from the Settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money from this settlement. You can only get a payment if you stay in the Settlement and submit a valid Claim Form.
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement passed on October 25, 2023.
Exclusions are no longer accepted.Back To Top
If I do not exclude myself, can I sue the Defendant for the same thing later?
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue the Defendant and Released Persons about the claims that are released by the Settlement Agreement, even if you have litigation pending against the Defendant. You must exclude yourself from this Settlement Class to continue your lawsuit. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately.
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement passed on October 25, 2023.
Exclusions are no longer accepted.Back To Top
How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
The deadline for all Class Members to object has passed on October 25, 2023.
Objections are no longer accepted.Back To Top
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is simply telling the Court you do not like something about the Settlement or requested attorneys’ fees and expenses. Requesting exclusion is telling the Court you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class or the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object to the Settlement.Back To Top
When will the Court rule on the Settlement?
The Court held the Final Approval Hearing on November 15, 2023, and final approval was granted.Back To Top
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you fit the Settlement Class definition as described in FAQ 5 and do nothing, you will be part of the Settlement Class, but you will not get a monetary payment from the Settlement. Unless you opt out of the Settlement, you will not be permitted to continue to assert claims about the issues in this case or subject to the Release of any other lawsuit against Defendants ever again.Back To Top
How do I get more information?
This website and the Notice summarize the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement, which can be found along with other court documents on the Important Documents page. If you have questions about the Settlement, you can contact the Claim Administrator by emailing info@RecyclingBagSettlement.com or calling 1-877-272-3437 (Toll-Free).
Please do not call the Judge, the Clerk of the Court, or Reynolds about this case. They will not be able to give you advice on your options.Back To Top