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Shell's Disposal & Recycling, Inc. v. City of Lancaster

December 30, 2011

SHELL'S DISPOSAL & RECYCLING, INC.
PLAINTIFF
v.
CITY OF LANCASTER, ET AL. , DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Carol Sandra Moore Wells Chief United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. Factual Background and Procedural History *fn1

On August 27, 2007, Plaintiff, Shell's Disposal and Recycling, Inc., ("Shell") sued the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, its City Council, Mayor, Department of Public Works, and various supervisors, bureaus and other departments ("Defendants") seeking relief based upon alleged deprivations of personal and property rights under both the United States and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Constitutions. More specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants conspired to unlawfully eliminate his small licensed trash hauling business which had operated in Lancaster since 1990 *fn2 , substituting for it one trash hauler that was awarded an exclusive government contract for residential rubbish removal inside Lancaster.

On April 6, 2009, an initial in-court mediation was held and attended by Willie E. Shell ("Mr. Shell"), his nephew, Marnell Cummings, Luther Weaver III, Esquire, counsel for Plaintiff, and James D. Young, Esquire, counsel for Defendants. The initial proceedings precluded any meaningful discussions due to insufficient evidence of the value of existing contracts and alleged losses, as well as the absence of any meaningful offer from Defendants. When these same individuals reassembled, on August 18, 2009, discussions made little headway; it was clear that resolution of the pending Lancaster contempt proceedings would be essential in effectuating a "global" settlement package. To this end, on October 23, 2009, J. Allen Taylor, Esquire, counsel for the Lancaster County proceedings, joined the usual team of negotiators on behalf of Shell and, although a settlement was not reached, all major issues were discussed and a framework for future settlement discussions was laid. Finally, on January 15, 2010, this court successfully assisted the parties in reaching a global agreement. Mr. Shell, attorneys Taylor and Weaver on behalf of Plaintiff, Neil L. Albert and James D. Young, counsel for the municipal defendants were present. *fn3

The following global settlement terms, as reflected in my personal mediation notes, were stated and agreed upon by all parties:

(1) the City of Lancaster would deem "satisfied" Plaintiff's outstanding loan to the City;

(2) Plaintiff was to cease operation of its recycling center and transfer it to another operator;

(3) the City of Lancaster would deem satisfied Plaintiff's real estate taxes owed from 2000;

(4) the City of Lancaster would deem satisfied district justice fines and costs levied against Plaintiff in prior proceedings;

(5) the City of Lancaster would withdraw a then-pending contempt of court proceeding against Plaintiff in Court of Common Pleas for Lancaster County;

(6) Plaintiff would continue to haul residential trash until September 30, 2011 and, thereafter, transfer all residential contracts to the City's unitary hauler;

(7) Plaintiff could continue to haul non-residential trash in the City of Lancaster;

(8) Plaintiff would withdraw the instant federal lawsuit with prejudice;

(9) the partes would execute a mutual release with no admission of ...


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