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Claims over contracts fuel litigation regarding landfill

Oregon business litigation involves many lawsuits over contracts between public agencies and private businesses. Many municipalities contract with private companies to collect garbage, provide water supplies and perform a myriad of other services that the municipalities find burdensome to administer themselves. The sheer volume of such arrangements leads to a steady flow of contracts litigation in the state and federal courts.

In one example of a somewhat typical dispute, a company sued two county governments that it contracts with to provide landfill services. The counties jointly own the landfill properties and have commissioned the company, Clark Floyd Landfill LLC to conduct its daily operations. A problem has recently come up because state environmental regulators will require a new operating permit next year.

The company has been relying on an alleged agreement with the counties for $5 million in revenue to be raised on a bond issue for environmental improvements. The lawsuit, filed in a federal district court in the state of Indiana, alleges that the county has been slow in responding and has not modernized the landfill as promised. If the county does not complete the improvements, the state may shut down the landfill, at least temporarily until the necessary improvements are made.

A spokesperson for the counties stated that they have been working with the company to resolve the problems. However, they also denied the allegations and promised to take strong defensive actions to enforce Clark Floyd’s duties to perform under the contracts. There have been a number of odor complaints and water movement issues existing at the property. The county agreed to build an underground wall to deflect the further movement of water, which has been occurring because the landfill was established prior to the requirement that liners must be installed to stem water movement. Breach of contract claims generally like this one occur commonly in Oregon.                                  

Source: courier-journal.com, “Landfill serving Clark, Floyd counties subject of new federal lawsuit“, James Bruggers, Jan. 9, 2018

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