Resource Recycling News

Judge: Connecticut MRF to remain open during legal appeal

Court gavel resting on a book on a desk.

The Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) insisted chaos would ensue if Republic Services shut down the MRF, which sorts and markets hundreds of tons of recyclables each day. | Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock

A Connecticut court has ruled that Republic Services can’t terminate a contract and shut down a MRF while the company’s dispute with a recycling authority is appealed.

Superior Court Judge Carl Schuman signed the Dec. 15 order in the case of FCR v. the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA). FCR, which is owned by Republic Services, is under contract to operate a Hartford, Conn. MRF that’s owned by MIRA, which delivers single-stream recyclables to the facility.

Started in June 2019, the legal case centers on contamination provisions in the contract. Following a non-jury trial, Schuman on Nov. 10 issued his decision. As a result of that decision, MIRA owes Republic Services over $1 million in damages. MIRA appealed the ruling.

Citing the Nov. 10 decision, Republic argued it had the green-light to terminate the contract without penalty and shut down the MRF at the end of this year. MIRA disagreed, arguing that the judge’s decision is automatically put on hold during the appeal.

In his Dec. 15 order, Schuman said he agrees with MIRA. The judge said any proceedings to carry out the judgment are automatically put on hold until the final resolution of the case. In this case, the declaration that MIRA defaulted on the contract, entitling Republic to cancel it without penalty, counts as “proceedings” that are automatically stayed.

MIRA insisted chaos would ensue if Republic on Dec. 31 shut down the MRF, which sorts and markets hundreds of tons of recyclables each day from over 50 communities. The contract is set to expire in mid-2021.

In response, Republic insisted MIRA could divert material to other sorting facilities or hire a replacement contractor to run the MRF earlier than June 2021, when the contract expires. Both options may be more expensive for MIRA, “but neither results in irreparable harm,” Republic stated.

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