982 F.Supp. 40 (D.Me. 1997), Civ. 97-0216, Houlton Citizens' Coalition v. Town of Houlton

Docket Nº:CIV. 97-0216-B.
Citation:982 F.Supp. 40
Party Name:HOULTON CITIZENS' COALITION, William J. Faulkner, d/b/a Jack's Trash Removal, Fred Spellman, d/b/a Spellman Light Trucking, and David Condon, d/b/a White Knight Solid Waste Disposal, Plaintiffs, v. TOWN of HOULTON, Defendant.
Case Date:October 20, 1997
Court:United States District Courts, 1st Circuit, District of Maine
 
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982 F.Supp. 40 (D.Me. 1997)

HOULTON CITIZENS' COALITION, William J. Faulkner, d/b/a Jack's Trash Removal, Fred Spellman, d/b/a Spellman Light Trucking, and David Condon, d/b/a White Knight Solid Waste Disposal, Plaintiffs,

v.

TOWN of HOULTON, Defendant.

No. CIV. 97-0216-B.

United States District Court, D. Maine.

Oct. 20, 1997

Page 41

Robert M.Morris, Carton, Davis, & Morris, P.A., Brunswick, ME, for Plaintiffs.

William L. Plouffe, Drummond, Woodsum, Plimpton & Macmahon, Portland, ME, Daniel R. Nelson, Severson, Hand, & Nelson, Houlton, ME, Edmond J. Bearor, Rudman & Winchell, Bangor, ME, for Defendant.

ORDER DENYING TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

BRODY, District Judge.

Pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiffs, Houlton Citizens' Coalition, William J. Faulkner, d/b/a Jack's Trash Removal, Fred Spellman d/b/a Spellman Light Trucking, and David Condon, d/b/a White Knight Solid Waste Disposal, request that the Court enjoin Defendant, Town of Houlton ("Houlton" or "the Town"), from enforcing the Town's 1997 Solid Waste Management Ordinance ("Ordinance" or the "1997 Ordinance"). For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order.

BACKGROUND

In 1995, Houlton enacted a Solid Waste Management Ordinance (the "1995 Ordinance") that required all residential solid waste generated within the Town to be taken to a single waste processing transfer station owned by a private contractor chosen by

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Houlton to process the Town's solid waste. Waste generators or commercial waste-hauling companies who violated this Ordinance were subject to fines, related costs, and attorneys' fees for each offense. See Houlton, Maine, Solid Waste Management Regulations, art. V, §§ 10-503 to 504 (1995). On March 25, 1997, this Court, ruling on a motion to enjoin enforcement of the 1995 Ordinance and the contract between Houlton and the owner of the designated transfer station, invalidated the 1995 Ordinance under the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

In direct response to this ruling, Houlton revised its Solid Waste Management Ordinance. The 1997 Ordinance provides that all residential refuse generated within the Town must either be made available by the town residents for collection by the Town or its contractor, or hauled by the resident to a disposal site designated by the Town Council. Residential refuse collected by the Town or its contractor may be disposed of at any lawful disposal site.1 Houlton, Maine, Solid Waste Management Regulations, art. V, § 10-504 (1997) ("Ord."). Waste generators or commercial waste-hauling companies in violation of the new Ordinance are subject to fines and penalties for each offense. Ord. § 10-503.

Under the 1997 Ordinance, the Town may either collect and dispose of residential refuse itself, or issue an exclusive annual license to a commercial enterprise for the collection and disposal of residential waste. Ord. §§ 10-512 to 513. If the Town decides to contract with a commercial enterprise, all residential waste generators who wish to use the Town's residential refuse collection services must individually contract with this one designated hauler. Ord. § 10-507. The Town Council establishes the fees for residential refuse collection and disposal services, Ord. § 10-511; however, the contractor chosen by the Town directly bills and collects charges from the resident waste generators. Ord. § 10-510.

Pursuant to the Ordinance, Houlton has granted the exclusive contract to collect and haul residential refuse to Andino, Inc. ("Andino"). Houlton has, in effect, further designated Andino's transfer site to be the exclusive "disposal site" for residential waste in Houlton.2 Until recently, Plaintiffs Faulkner, Spellman, and Condon held licenses granting them the right to collect and haul residential waste generated within the town. Along with Plaintiff Houlton Citizens' Coalition, a non-profit corporation consisting of residents of Houlton, Plaintiffs Faulkner, Spellman, and Condon contend that the 1997 Ordinance is unconstitutional under the dormant Commerce Clause. A hearing was held on Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order on October 10, 1997.

STANDARD FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

For the Court to grant Plaintiffs' Motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiffs must establish the following four elements: first, that they have a likelihood of success on the merits; second, that they will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted; third, that their injury outweighs any harm that granting injunctive relief would inflict on Defendant; and fourth, that the public interest will be served by granting the temporary restraining order. See AFL-CIO Laundry

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and Dry Cleaning Int'l Union v. AFL-CIO Laundry, 70 F.3d 717, 718 (1st Cir. 1995); Women's Community Health Ctr. Inc. v. Cohen, 477 F.Supp. 542, 544 (D.Me.1979).

The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not satisfied the first requirement for injunctive relief, a likelihood of success on the merits, and, therefore, does not reach the other three elements.

A. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

As discussed in more detail in this Court's March 25, 1997 Order, while the Commerce Clause is "by its text an affirmative grant of power to Congress to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, the Clause has long been recognized as a self-executing limitation on the power of the States to enact laws imposing substantial burdens on such commerce." South-Central Timber Dev., Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U.S. 82, 87, 104 S.Ct. 2237, 2240, 81 L.Ed.2d 71 (1984). In other words, even in the absence of a conflicting federal statute, the "dormant" Commerce Clause...

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