A US state Supreme Court has reversed a ruling that allowed beer and soft-drinks distributors to recover nearly US$5.8m in unclaimed bottle and can deposits. 

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled yesterday (13 August) that the 12 distributors were unable to prove they had a “clear entitlement” to the unclaimed deposits. The case stems from a 2009 law, itself a revision of a 'bottle bill' introduced in 1980, that meant the state could take the money to help narrow its budget deficit.

However, the 12 distributors argued that the retroactive taking of the deposits between December 2008 and April 2009 violated their property rights. A Superior Court judge had previously ruled in favour of the distributors.

But, yesterday this ruling was overturned by the state's Supreme Court. 

“The regulatory scheme contains no provision expressly granting the distributors a property interest in the unclaimed deposits,” the ruling said.

The American Beverage Association spoke out in 2009 after the law was expanded to include water bottles.