Judge defers ruling in trash-district suit

With similar litigation pending in the Missouri Supreme Court, a county circuit judge said last week she will defer until summer a ruling in the case of three waste haulers who sued the county over its trash-district program.

Circuit Judge Barbara Wallace handed down an order May 16 stating, among other things, that the court will wait to rule on the haulers’ case until Aug. 15 “to see if the Supreme Court rules on any issues presented in this case.”

The haulers — American Eagle Waste, Meridian Waste and Waste Management — sued the county in 2008 seeking damages because they did not receive a state-mandated two years’ notice by certified mail that the county planned to establish eight trash districts in unincorporated areas.

Plaintiffs in a subsequent class-action lawsuit also have alleged the county violated the state’s two-year notice provision.

That case now is pending before the Missouri Supreme Court following oral arguments earlier this month.

While the county circuit court initially dismissed the haulers’ case in 2008, the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals later ruled that the state’s two-year notice provision was applicable to the county despite its charter status.

Based in part on that appellate opinion, Wallace earlier this year ruled that the haulers are entitled to damages based on two years’ revenue and the “finite loss” of 40,000 customers.

Wallace had set a trial for Tuesday, May 31, to determine damages. The haulers have estimated they are owed roughly $23.2 million, a figure the county has disputed.