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County sued in $5.4 million breach of contract suit

A recycling company is suing a state county for allegedly reneging on an agreement to pay for scrap metal removal, according to business news. Big Island Scrap Metal is suing an out-of-state government for breach of contract after the county allegedly failed to pay out for removing scrap metal from two local landfills. As Florida business owners already know, even governmental agencies can be brought to the stand when a contract is brought into question. 

According to the complaint, Big Island entered a 10-year contract with the county back in 2003 that tasked them with removing scrap metal like appliances and automobiles from county landfills. This agreement came on the heels of an EPA ordainment to clean up these landfills as much as possible the year before. The contract stipulated that the price paid for scrap would be based on the latest information available, which, at the time, was $144.90 per ton, with a $100 premium paid on “old scrap” that had been overgrown. 

Big Island is contending that they were not paid an estimated $3.6 million for services rendered. They allege that the county instituted a “cap” on how much metal could be removed in a given time frame to get around having to pay for this work, but they did so after excess metal had already been removed. In addition to the $3.6 million, Big Island is also seeking a further $1.8 million in legal fees and interest.

Entering a contract is a legally-binding relationship according to Florida law — a law that is mirrored throughout the nation. A breach of contract by either party, even a governmental agency, constitutes a serious infraction in the business world. In this case, should the county be found to have not fulfilled the terms of the contract, they may be required to pay Big Island the sum they have demanded. The case will be overseen by a local business court, which will use the facts of the case to determine a verdict.

Source: westhawaiitoday.com, “Recycler suing Hawaii County for $5.4M for alleged breach of contract”, John Burnett, Feb. 19, 2015

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