St. Louis County enacted an ordinance on December 12, 2006, to implement a waste collection program effective October 1, 2008. American Eagle Waste Industries and the other respondents each submitted bids to participate in the program, but none was the lowest bid.
The companies were aware of the program the day it was
enacted and received letters regarding the program 25 days after the ordinance
was enacted. A new law effective January 1, 2008, was passed repealing several
statutes along with section 260.247, RSMo. Section 260.247 was amended to
require private waste collection entities to be notified by certified mail when
a municipality extended its services into an area the private entity currently
serviced. Notice was directed to be sent at least two years before the new
American Eagle brought an action to have the court
determine the rights of the parties. The county’s motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim was granted, and judgment was entered for the county. American
Eagle filed this action claiming breach of implied contract, antitrust
violation, taking of private property and violation of due process. The county
moved to dismiss for mootness (no longer an issue) and failure to state a
claim. The trial court agreed the determination of rights was no longer an
issue but did not dismiss it, dismissed the antitrust claim and refused to
dismiss the breach of implied contract claim.
The trial court granted American
Eagle’s motion for partial summary judgment on the breach of implied contract.
Damages were determined to be the amount American Eagle and the other companies
would have received for the two years prior to commencement of the program. At
trial for determination of damages, a certified public accountant testified for
American Eagle that damages should be $23 million for the companies including
loss of revenue in the redistricting.
The court reduced the proposed amount to
5% and entered judgment for $1,159,903.90. St. Louis County appeals and
American Eagle cross-appeals.
St. Louis County’s
St. Louis County
argues the trial court erred in finding for American Eagle. It contends
American Eagle failed to state a claim because section 260.247 does not apply
to the county and its power over municipal waste collection. The county asserts
section 260.247 violates the Missouri Constitution when applied to business
protection instead of environmental regulation because the title to the bill
contains the amendment.
It argues section 260.247 became effective on January
1, 2008, the county waste program was adopted in 2006 and the statute was not
designed to apply to matters prior to its effective date. The county contends
American Eagle failed to provide sufficient evidence that the county received a
benefit from them that the county accepted and retained. It asserts American
Eagle’s evidence should have been excluded under section 490.065, RSMo, because
it was based on inadmissible out of court statements and was unreliable.
county argues that American Eagle voluntarily participated in the waste program
and benefited from it, thereby waiving its right to challenge the validity of
the program. It contends the trial court awarded incorrect damages because the
two-year period for damages under section 260.247 ran from December 12, 2006,
to December 12, 2008.
American Eagle argues
the trial court correctly found for them. It contends section 260.247 applies
to the waste program and the county’s first three points regarding the statute
should not be reviewed by this Court. American Eagle asserts that section
260.247 is a statewide market regulation, not an infringement on the county’s
power over municipal waste collection. It argues the county failed to challenge
the constitutionality of section 260.247 before its enactment and any
complaints now are barred by time limits.
American Eagle contends section 260.247
is not being improperly applied to a prior matter. It asserts that the claim
for payment under section 260.247 is proper and its qualified expert provided
sufficient evidence of damages. American Eagle argues it did not waive its
right to challenge the program because it is challenging its implementation,
not the validity of the actual program. Finally, American Eagle contends the
county failed to send certified notice to them required by section 260.247
before beginning waste collection.
American Eagle argues
the trial court erred limiting its award to five percent because it was not
permitted to submit evidence of its profit margin. It contends the trial court
should not have determined damages based on profits because section 260.247
entitles it to two years worth of anticipated payment. American Eagle asserts
damages should have been for $23,198,078.00 and not $1,159,903.90 because the
evidence supports the larger amount.
It argues the trial court should not have dismissed
the antitrust claim because it was a valid claim that the county created a
monopoly of trash districts in unincorporated St. Louis County. Finally,
American Eagle contends it was entitled to interest on its damages under
section 408.020, RSMo.
St. Louis County
argues the trial court correctly limited the damages. It contends the amount
American Eagle sought in damages would have meant a windfall judgment unrelated
to the alleged damages. The county asserts the trial court correctly dismissed
the antitrust claim because American Eagle failed to state a claim. It argues
the trial court was correct in not adding prejudgment interest onto the amount
Municipal League, Missouri Municipal Attorneys Association and St. Louis County
Municipal League argue as friends of the court that the implied in law contract
was not the proper action for American Eagle to pursue. They contend the county
did not receive and retain a benefit from American Eagle or the other companies
to satisfy an implied in law contract claim.
The organizations assert the trial
court incorrectly ruled there was a breach of an implied in law contract. They
argue the trial court’s ruling is contrary to the public policy of Missouri and
interferes with principles set down to protect the public interest.