Waste Connections is claiming victory after a federal judge dismissed a Florida customer’s efforts to certify a class action lawsuit against the company over its pricing tactics.
Sunshine Children’s Learning Center, based in Tampa, sued the company in 2021 over alleged breach of contract due to the nature of its rate increase notifications. A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed the motion to certify a class action suit last week in part because customers were found to have an individual right to handle contract issues via their contract terms. If successful, the potential class of affected commercial waste collection customers could have numbered more than 20,000.
Waste Connections was represented by the firm Beveridge & Diamond. The case remains pending, but limited to the individual plaintiff.
“We’re pleased with this strong and definitive opinion rejecting class action status for this case,” said Waste Connections Executive Vice President and General Counsel Pat Shea in a statement. “Waste Connections honors its contracts and works with its customers individually to address any concerns regarding rates and service. The company will vigorously contest efforts to morph a customer contract concern into a class action lawsuit, and the federal court’s decision vindicates our position.”
Sunshine first contracted with a subsidiary of Progressive Waste Solutions in 2013, before Waste Connections acquired that company in 2016. In its complaint, Sunshine outlined eight different rate increases between September 2014 to September 2020. This increased the customers’ overall monthly collection and disposal charge from $84 to $367.76.
The plaintiff alleged the company had breached its contract due to the nature of these increases. Waste Connections disputed that claim and sought to have the case dismissed. The parties failed to reach a resolution during a mediation process that ended in March.
Waste Connections reports prevailing in similar efforts to start class action cases against the company in Colorado and South Carolina during recent years.