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HANCOCK INDUS. v. SCHAEFFER

August 7, 1985

HANCOCK INDUSTRIES and ACE SERVICE CORP. and EASTERN WASTE REMOVAL and CHARLES CRUMBLEY, INC. and EDWARD LAWRENSON, INC.
v.
ERIK J. SCHAEFFER, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HUYETT

HUYETT, J.

 FINDINGS OF FACT, DISCUSSION, AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 Plaintiffs, five in number, have filed this action against the Chester County and Delaware County Solid Waste Authorities, the respective executive directors, Chester County and Delaware County seeking injunctive as well as monetary relief from the alleged infringements committed by defendants. Each plaintiff is a commercial trash hauler engaged in the collection and transportation of commercial trash from the City of Philadelphia.

 Defendant Chester County Solid Waste Authority ("Chester Authority") owns and operates the Lanchester Landfill while the Delaware County Incinerator (Solid Waste) Authority ("Delaware Authority") owns and operates the Colebrookdale Landfill located in Berks County. In a memorandum dated March 29, 1985, J. Erik Schaeffer, the executive director of the Chester Authority and a defendant in this action, advised all haulers that there was a possibility that due to the high volume of trash being dumped, out-of-county trash would not be accepted at the Lanchester Landfill after June 30, 1984; the only exception noted was the long-term contracts for LARA (Lancaster County) and the City of Philadelphia. By notice dated April 17, 1985, Victor Petaccio, executive director of the Colebrookdale Landfill, advised the public that the Colebrookdale Landfill would be closed as of May 31, 1985 and the landfill would be reserved for the needs of Delaware County.

 Plaintiffs contend that the closure of these landfills violated their rights to equal protection and due process as guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment. Plaintiffs further contend that defendants' actions violate sections one and two of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2 and section two of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 13.

 Plaintiffs filed this action on June 4, 1985. On that date, counsel for plaintiffs, Mark Lipowicz, appeared before me seeking a temporary restraining order. At the time, the Colebrookdale landfill had closed but there were approximately four weeks remaining before the Lanchester Landfill was scheduled to close. I denied plaintiffs' request for a TRO and ordered counsel to meet with the defendants to try to reach an agreement.

 On June 26, 1985, after evidently making little effort to resolve this matter amicably, plaintiffs renewed their request for a preliminary injunction hearing. In my absence, Judge Pollak as emergency judge met with the parties on June 27. An agreement was reached that the status quo would be maintained at least through July 2. I held a hearing in Reading on July 5, 1985 at which all parties had an opportunity to present evidence. In addition to plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction, I also considered defendants' motions to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment. Plaintiffs had also filed a Rule 56(f) motion seeking additional time for discovery before I ruled on defendants' summary judgment motions.

 For the reasons outlined below and in my bench opinion of July 5, 1985, and as set forth in my order of July 8, 1985, I conclude that plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction must be denied and defendants' motion for summary judgment granted in part.

 FINDINGs OF FACT *fn1"

 1. I incorporate in my findings of fact all those facts to which the parties have stipulated. These include the stipulation of facts relating to defendants Erik Schaeffer and Chester County Solid Waste Authority with the exception of paragraphs 12, 16, 21, and 33 and the stipulation of facts relating to defendants Delaware County Incinerator (Solid Waste) Authority and Victor Petaccio with the exception of paragraphs 6, 11, 13, and 20.

 2. James Lawrence Boling testified on behalf of the Chester County defendants in a candid and forthright manner and I therefore found him to be a credible witness.

 3. Mr. Boling presently serves as the Chairman of the Chester Authority.

 4. Chester County formed the Chester Authority on August 20, 1984 pursuant to its obligation under the Solid Waste Management Act, 35 P.S. § 6018.101 ("Solid Waste Act") to provide for the collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of municipal waste.

 5. Chester County has guaranteed any default on Chester Authority's bonded debt by the full faith and credit of the County.

 6. The Chester Authority was empowered to operate a landfill and to finance its operation.

 7. At the time the Chester Authority purchased the Lanchester Landfill, approximately one-half of the trash dumped at the landfill was from outside Chester County.

 8. At the time Chester Authority purchased the Lanchester Landfill, the landfill had an expected life expectancy of 15 years.

 9. At the time Chester County purchased the Lanchester Landfill, daily tonnage of trash was 1,700 tons. The plan at that time was that disposal would never exceed 2,200 tons per day.

 10. Starting in October and November the daily tonnage the landfill accepted started to rise. The rise continued after the Kinsley Landfill in New Jersey closed to Philadelphia trash and peaked at about 4,000 tons per day in March.

 11. As of July 5, 1985, Lanchester Landfill is receiving approximately 3,300 to 3,400 tons per day.

 12. As the tonnage started to increase through the late fall and early spring, the Chester Authority became increasingly concerned about the volume and the landfill's ability to handle it.

 13. Lanchester Landfill employees were unable to keep up with th [the] volume of thrash; they could not spread and compact the trash at the same rate as the trash was being disposed. Maintenance and environmental hazards increased for this reason.

 14. Lanchester Landfill has established minimum tonnages as a tool to control the expected per day tonnage.

 15. The Chester County Authority acted independently of Chester County when it decided to close the Lanchester landfill to out-of-county trash.

 16. John Erik Schaeffer testified at the hearing on July 5, 1985. Because Mr. Schaeffer testified in an open and straightforward manner, I found him to be a credible witness.

 17. When the Lanchester landfill started accepting more than the optimal 1,700-2,200 tons of trash per day, Mr. Schaeffer recommended to the authority ...


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