Judge rules haulers lost 40,000 customers to trash districts

By EVAN YOUNG

A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday set the parameters for damages she ruled are owed three waste haulers that sued the county over its trash district program.

Judge Barbara Wallace ruled in September the county breached an implied contract with haulers when it neglected to give them two years’ notice — as required by state law — that it was establishing eight trash districts in unincorporated areas.

On Tuesday, Wallace ruled the three haulers that sued the county in 2008 are entitled to damages.

“The county’s action resulted in a finite loss to plaintiffs of 40,000 customers for the statutory two-year notice period,” she wrote in an opinion. “By enforcing the exclusivity of its trash hauling districts, the county has effectively prevented plaintiffs from even the possibility of regaining those lost customers in that two-year period.”

American Eagle Waste Industries, Meridian Waste Services and Waste Management of Missouri sued the county in May 2008 after they did not win contracts to serve the trash districts exclusively. They are prohibited from offering service to district residents.

A trial on the amount of damages owed the haulers tentatively is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 24.

Look for a full story in next week’s Call.