Waste hauler Progressive Waste Solutions is appealing a judge’s decision to toss its federal lawsuit against city-parish government for voting to kill a controversial garbage transfer station.
Progressive Waste filed notice this week that it will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review U.S. District Judge Richard Haik’s dismissal of the case last month.
Millions of dollars could be on the line.
The legal battle stretches back to 2011, when the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted to block the planned transfer station on Sunbeam Lane just outside the Lafayette city limits, where Progressive Waste planned to off-load route trucks onto larger tractor-trailers to haul garbage to landfills.
City-parish government already has paid $3.4 million in the case to settle a lawsuit filed by Waste Facilities of Lafayette.
Waste Facilities already had purchased a 16-acre site for the transfer station and had begun construction when the council voted to revoke permits for the facility at the behest of residents in the area.
Progressive Waste, which had planned to lease the transfer site from Waste Facilities, filed a separate federal lawsuit.
Waste Facilities had sought damages for money it had spent on the project and future losses from not being able to lease the transfer station.
Progressive Waste sought similar damages for business losses, but Haik wrote in his ruling last month that the company presented no evidence of any substantial financial impact.
The council was well aware it could have been on the hook for a big payout when voting to block the transfer station.
City-Parish Attorney Mike Hebert warned council members before the vote of “substantial liability” and damages that could climb into the “millions of dollars.”
After being blocked in Lafayette, Progressive Waste shifted gears and built a garbage transfer station in Acadia Parish.
The 16-acre site on Sunbeam Lane was purchased in 2013 by Danny Guilliot, a business owner in the area who opposed the transfer station and said he wanted to have control over any future developments on the site.