Holland’s #036;20 million monopoly suit begins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

A Suffolk Circuit Court judge will decide in coming weeks whether a private landfill operator’s $20 million lawsuit against the Southeastern Public Service Authority should be trashed.

Citing a lack of evidence, attorneys for the SPSA – a regional waste cooperative that represents eight Hampton Roads communities –

on Tuesday asked Judge Rodham T. Delk to reject the suit filed last April by John C. Holland Enterprises.

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Holland, in his suit against SPSA and Bay Disposal, a Norfolk waste contractor, alleged that the two have created a monopoly on the disposal of construction waste. Construction debris, such as concrete remnants, brick, drywall and wood scraps, have traditionally been buried in the small private landfills like Holland’s Nansemond Parkway operation.

Holland’s suit also accuses the two businesses of striking an illegal pricing deal in 2003. According to the suit, Bay pays a disposal rate of $6.10 per cubic yard, which includes the use of SPSA trucks and drivers.

According to the suit, SPSA’s rubble-disposal program has set a rate of $6.50 per cubic yard of waste for all contractors, haulers and the public. But the going rate for private landfill operators, including Holland Enterprises, is between $8 and $11 per cubic yard.

Gary Bryant, SPSA’s attorney, on Tuesday said the authority has always accepted construction debris into its Suffolk landfill through its municipal waste program. But until 2003, he said, the agency charged the same flat rate for municipal waste and construction debris.

&uot;We did not make a distinction between the two,&uot; said Bryant. That year, he said, SPSA made a decision to go after more of the construction debris industry.

&uot;If SPSA is going to attract volume, it had to lower its price for construction debris,&uot; Bryant said. &uot;We think SPSA has every right to compete.&uot;

But Gary Baise, Holland’s attorney, said SPSA’s new focus on construction debris should be treated as a new service.

&uot;SPSA has bent the rules to satisfy its needs,&uot; Baise said. &uot;All we want is for SPSA to follow the rules.&uot;