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Eastman files suit against recycler Coll Materials

By: Mike Verespej

October 26, 2012

WILMINGTON, DEL. (Oct. 26, 3:40 p.m. ET) — Eastman Chemical Co. has re-filed a breach of contract complaint against plastics recycler Coll Materials LLC in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, after withdrawing the same lawsuit from a different court jurisdiction.

The complaint charges Coll with breach of contract, negligence and failure to reimburse Eastman for loss of Eastman materials, valued in excess of $75,000, that were stored at the warehouse of the Coll recycling plant in Nazareth, Pa., which was destroyed by fire Aug. 2, 2011.

The complaint was initially filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, but was withdrawn on Oct. 1, 13 days after it had been filed. It was then filed again earlier this month in Delaware, said attorney Terry Henry of the Philadelphia-based law firm Blank Rome LLP, which is representing Eastman.

Eastman charges Coll with failure to safely store and prevent damage to Eastman materials stored at the plant. The lawsuit said Coll assumed responsibility for a contract — drawn up between Nicos Polymers & Grinding Inc. and Eastman in 2005 — when Coll acquired Nicos in February 2011.

Production from Nazareth was moved to a plant in nearby Allentown, Pa., but that Allentown plant is now being shuttered and will soon be closing.

Brian Coll, president and CEO of Coll Materials, told Plastics News Oct. 24 that the Allentown plant will be consolidated into the company’s Zanesville, Ohio, plant over the next three to six months. He said Allentown now has a skeleton crew of 15 people.

In addition, Coll has stopped making recycled composite railroad ties, at least temporarily, at its year-old plant in Waco, Texas, but still continues to do plastics recycling there.

Brian Coll said the company is in the process of purchasing a plastics recycler in North Carolina, and he expects the purchase to be completed by the end of the year.

He declined to name the acquisition target. But sources told PN that it may be the Recycle America Raleigh (N.C.) Plastics plant that Waste Management Inc. has on the market.