A U.S. District Court jury Friday awarded Waste Management Mobile Bay Environmental Center a total of more than $8.1 million in damages in the company’s breach of contract lawsuit against the city’s Solid Waste Authority.
The seven-member jury took more than seven hours to decide the case and found for the plaintiff on all counts.
The jury found that the SWA was in breach of the contract it entered into with Waste Management for failing to allow the company to raise the tipping fee it charges the city at the Chastang Landfill. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued the $20-per-ton fee hadn’t permanently been changed since the contract was signed in 1993, despite a clause in it that allowed for the fee to be raised annually after the first two contract years. They awarded more than $1.7 million for that count.
The jury found that an appropriate tipping fee for all city waste should be $27.38 per ton. Defense attorneys argued the SWA wasn’t against making the price adjustments requested by Waste Management, but the company didn’t provide the proper documentation needed to support an increase.
The jury also found SWA was in breach of contract for not reimbursing Waste Management for capital expenses the company made at the landfill and for not reimbursing Waste Management for costs incurred because of a change in regulations. The jury awarded Waste Management more than $3.5 million on those two counts.
The jury also awarded $3 million to the company for damages for a breach of contract related to SWA entering into a contract with a Dirt, Inc. landfill for disposal of the city’s yard waste.
There will be post-trial motions filed in the case.