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Pennsylvania Indep. Waste Haulers Ass'n v. Waste Sys. Auth. of E. Montgomery County

ELR Citation: 30 ELR 20398
Nos. No. 99-1782, (E.D. Pa., 03/07/2000)

The court holds that a waste haulers association has standing to assert a U.S. Commerce Clause claim against a district waste authority for enacting a system of flow control ordinances that captured the district's generated waste in order to finance a trash-to-steam facility. Under the system, haulers paid nothing to use the facility, but real property owners in the district were charged fees to have their waste disposed of at the facility and were charged additional fees to have their waste disposed of in a different facility.

The court first holds that the association has associational standing to assert Commerce Clause claims on behalf of its members. The association's individual members would have standing to sue in their own right. Further, because resolution of this case in the association's favor would benefit its members, the interests the association seeks to protect are germane to its purpose of promoting the interests of the solid waste collection, transportation, and hauling industries. Moreover, even though the association seeks damages on behalf of its individual members, which might require participation in the suit by those members, associational standing is not precluded. The requirement that individual association members do not participate in the case at bar is not a constitutionally mandated requirement for associational standing, and has been ruled to exist for purposes of administrative convenience and efficiency once the first two prongs of associational standing are satisfied.

The court next holds that the association's compliance is facially sufficient to state a claim for a violation of the Contracts Clause. The association alleged that the system impaired the parties' obligations under existing contracts, and the court is not concerned with how drastic the alleged violation is.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Daniel V. Folt
Cozen & O'Connor
1900 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 665-2000

Counsel for Defendant
Francis Recchuiti
Vangrossi & Recchuiti
319 Swede St., Norristown PA 19401
(610) 279-4200