Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trash Haulers v. St. Louis County: The Final Frontier - Showdown in the Missouri Supreme Court

One month from today, May 10th at 9:00 a.m. in Jefferson City, the seven judges of the Missouri Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the trash haulers case (American Eagle Waste Industries, LLC et al. v. St. Louis County).  The subject case was the first of four lawsuits that were brought against St. Louis County as a result of the county’s controversial trash districting program.  The other three cases have since been disposed of by the courts with the county prevailing in all three cases (Buchanan et al. v. St. Louis County, Grace v. St. Louis County, and Weber et al. v. St. Louis County).  In each of those cases, the courts’ ruled that the county did not violate its charter or any state statutes, and thus was within its legal powers to implement a trash districting program.
In May of 2008, American Eagle, Meridian, and Waste Management, filed suit against St. Louis County for its failure to provide a two-year notice prior to the implementation of a trash districting program, as required per Missouri statute.  St. Louis County prevailed at the circuit court level, but the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District reversed the decision of the lower court and held that the county owed damages to the three unsuccessful trash haulers in their bids for a trash district. 

The appellate court remanded the case back to the circuit court to determine the amount of damages.  Circuit Court Judge Barbara Wallace ruled that St. Louis County owed the trash haulers damages totaling roughly $1.16 million, as follows:  $261,086 to American Eagle, $99,224 to Meridian, and $799,593 to Waste Management.  Patricia Redington, St. Louis County Counselor, subsequently challenged the amount of the damages, as well as the circuit and appellate court’s ruling, which resulted in the present appeal to the state’s high court.

After four years of meandering through the state judicial system, the legal question to be decided appears to be whether the county owes the three trash haulers monetary damages and the amount of those damages, if any. 

The plaintiffs, defendant, and amicus briefs are 93, 85, and 24 pages, respectively, which equates to a rather large time of reading material at 202 pages. 

Within a few months after the conclusion of the oral arguments on May 10th, the Missouri Supreme Court will render its written opinion, which should result in the final chapter of the controversial trash issue in St. Louis County.  Regardless of how the court rules, the county trash districting program will continue to operate as is.  Residents in the eight trash districts will forever be forced to use the county “designated hauler” for each respective trash district, with the sole exception being those subdivisions that wisely “opted-out” of the county program being forever exempt to choose their own hauler(s). 

There is one final important point to note with regard to the 300+ subdivisions that opted out of the county program:  Never opt back into the county program, even if your subdivision chooses to contract with a county designated hauler at some point; the reason being that once a subdivision opts back into the county program, it can never opt-out again.  The county may not advise a subdivision of this little known provision; however, this is one of the many reasons for the existence of this committee and the Subdivision Trustees – St. Louis Metro Area website.    

There will be more on this issue as new developments unfold.  In the interim, check out Subdivision Trustees – St. Louis Metro Area ( for updates on this issue and others of interest to residents in St. Louis County.

Anyone interested in joining the protected e-mail distribution list should send his/her name, e-mail address, and subdivision/area of residence to

Please forward and pass this communication on to other interested parties, especially to those who do not have internet access.


  1. Anonymous1:05 PM

    I wonder if the Missouri Supreme Court will wait to see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Obamacare? It seems to me they are both “FORCED CONSUMERISM” in its most abject form.

  2. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Welcome to the world of "Big Government"
    If the Government is allowed the simple things like directing "Trash Service", they will take the liberty to direct "Healt Care"
    If Big Government is given the authority to regulate Health Care by the Supreme Court, be prepared, all government, Big and Small and everything in between, will go on a power trip to regulate everything.
    How much is too much?

  3. Anonymous8:24 AM

    This issue is not about Trash or Health Care.

    It is about your Rights, your Freedoms, and Your ability to make decisions.

    All government needs re-boot and do what they were intended to do, and nothing more.

    Get out of our lives.