The Ratto Group, the parent company of Petaluma’s garbage hauler, has been fined more than $3.5 million for breach of contract by a San Francisco Superior Court, the Press Democrat is reporting.
The dispute arose when operators of a Solano County landfill said that Ratto failed to live up to the terms of a 2009 contract, which outlined that the company would dispose garbage at the Potrero Hill Landfill in Suisun City.
Instead, Ratto submitted a bid to transport Solano County’s waste to a competing landfill operator.
The fines includes $2.5 million in compensatory damages and more than $1 million in attorney fees and other costs to the Potrero Hills landfill and its parent company, Waste Connections Inc.
“This is an industry where long-term contracts like these are the rule not the exception,” said John Hursh, a Palo Alto attorney representing the landfill told the Press Democrat. “This sends a message that these contracts will be enforced.”
Last month, the Petaluma City Council voted to extend the contract to Petaluma Refuse & Recycling, a subsidiary of the Ratto Group, for another 15 years without putting the project out to bid. In exchange PR&R will pay the city $750,000 a year, in addition to a $250,000 road impact fee.