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St. Louis County Whacked on Appeal

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - St. Louis County must pay $5.9 million to three trash haulers that claimed the county did not properly notify them of changes to trash districts: five times the amount awarded before the county appealed.

St. Louis County Judge Barbara Wallace ordered the county to pay $4.9 million to Waste Management of Missouri, $590,000 to American Eagle Waste Industries and $384,000 to Meridian Waste Services.

The companies' attorneys claimed the county acted unlawfully by not giving 2 years notice before establishing the new trash districts in unincorporated areas in 2008.

Wallace agreed and awarded $1.1 million to the companies.

The county appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which upheld Wallace's decision last year. On remand, the court asked Wallace to revisit the merits of her award.

On Wednesday, Wallace more than quintupled the award.

County Counselor Patricia Redington indicated told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the case might not be over.

"We do not believe the facts and law support this award and will aggressively pursue our options," Redington said. "We are confident we will prevail under the law and the evidence submitted."

St. Louis County COO Garry Earls defended the program in a statement issued by County Executive Charlie Dooley's office. Earls said the new configuration saves 110,000 households an average of $6 a month and that those households have saved $40 million cumulatively since 2009.

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