Appeals Court Agrees to Allow Republic Service’s Monopoly in San Angelo, Even for Construction Trash
SAN ANGELO, TX — Republic Services was awarded an exclusive trash collection contract within the city limits of San Angelo in July 2014. Since then, the vanquished opponent of that contract contest, Texas Disposal Systems, has been nipping at Republic’s heels.
One way TDS has stuck into Republic’s crawl is by using a little-known statute in State of Texas code that TDS argues allows TDS to service construction job sites with temporary roll-off trash collection within the city limits, regardless of the exclusive contract.
Republic sued TDS in Oct. 2014 in Federal District Court, and, after a court fight that spanned nearly a year, TDS won a judgment from Judge Sam R. Cummings that allowed TDS to continue to offer competition in the local temporary roll-off trash collection market in San Angelo. Cummings dismissed Republic’s lawsuit and denied a motion for Partial Summary Judgment that Republic asked of the court.
Republic appealed the decision to the U.S. 5th Circuit of Appeals. Last Thursday, that court ruled in favor of Republic’s appeal, vacating the lower court’s ruling. Now, the two trash providers will go back to district court and start the fight all over again.
Since April 2014 when the City of San Angelo chose Republic to be the monopoly trash hauler within the city, TDS has competed with Republic for the business of area building contractors. The competition has kept construction trash pickup prices for area contractors low.
Low prices for commercial trash pickup is not a characteristic in San Angelo’s trash pickup monopoly given Republic. At least it is expensive for businesses other than contractors since the exclusivity contract was inked, TDS and many business owners have argued. Republic hiked commercial rates, TDS said, about 72 percent with the 2014 exclusivity contract. Some restaurants complained their trash pickup prices were hiked as much as 94 percent.
TDS previously won in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, arguing that state law trumps city ordinance, and the city had no business granting Republic exclusivity for temporary roll-off trash service. Specifically, TDS argued “that Section 364.034(h) of the Code [in Texas statutes] precluded the City from entering into exclusive contracts for temporary construction solid waste disposal services,” and won.
The lower court opinion in favor of TDS was overruled by the appeals court last Thursday.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against TDS does not immediately preclude TDS from continuing its temporary roll-off business yet. It only remanded the case back to a lower court for a hearing and decision.
“The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” the ruling states.
Republic’s next move may be to argue for an injunction to have TDS cease temporary roll-off trash collection inside the San Angelo city limits until the case is settled.
More on the case:
- Download the U.S. 5th Court of Appeals ruling Dec. 15, 2016
- Texas Disposal Systems to Defy City, Republic and Offer Trash Collection
- Republic Sends Oprah’s Lawyer After Texas Disposal Systems
- Texas Disposal Systems Wins Round One in Legal Battle Over San Angelo Trash Contract
- San Angelo Business Owners Shocked by Trash Rate Increase
- SHOCK CLAIM: Republic Services Contract Changes Amount to $10 Million+ Windfall for Trash Hauler
- Video: The Origins of San Angelo's Trash Controversy
- More on the trash controversy (search)