- Two local waste companies in Reno, NV—Nevada Recycling and Salvage and Rubbish Runners—have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Waste Management (WM).
- The issue is a 2012 franchise agreement that gave WM exclusive rights to collect much of the city's waste via three subsidiary companies: Reno Disposal, Castaway Trash Hauling and Refuse, Inc. The two plaintiffs—along with a third company called Green Solutions Recycling that has filed its own lawsuit—are each only authorized to collect or process specific categories of the city's waste.
- This particular lawsuit alleges that WM sought to create an unfair advantage by beginning to negotiate the purchase of Castaway Trash Hauling prior to finalizing the franchise agreement in 2012.
This is the most recent of numerous legal challenges brought by the other local haulers. In response, the city hired an outside law firm to conduct a review of the franchise agreements. The firm's findings were released in May and seemed to validate WM's position with the provision that the company completes a promised "Eco-Center" recycling facility in a timely fashion.
While some Reno officials have said that they were unaware of WM's discussions with Castaway during the franchise negotiation process, City of Reno Communications Program Manager Matthew Brown said that's not an issue. Conveying information on behalf of the city attorney's office, he said that WM was "under no legal obligation" to disclose negotiations with Castaway as part of the process and that the franchise agreements "expressly allowed" the two companies to "assign their agreements, or portions thereof, to each other."
WM disagreed with the idea that its negotiations with Castaway were private at the time.
"The Reno city administration and members of the City Council knew of Waste Management’s possible acquisition of Castaway when the city was considering the award of the franchise agreement. Furthermore, this pending lawsuit has no merit and the judge overseeing the case has already dismissed nine of 10 claims brought by the plaintiff," Paul T. Rosynsky, spokesperson for Waste Management of Nevada, wrote in an emailed statement.
The attorney representing Nevada Recycling and Rubbish Runners in their anti-trust lawsuits estimates that the companies will lose a combined $40 million dollars during the 17-year franchise agreement. They are seeking damages or a possible revocation of the agreement. The lawsuit is currently scheduled to go to trial in December.