Facts: After the respondent city of Seattle enacted Seattle Municipal Code §21.36.030, which prohibits solid waste collection companies other than those contracted by the city from performing construction, demolition, and land clearing waste collection services, petitioner Josef Ventenbergs filed suit against the city in the Superior Court for King County, asserting that the ordinance violates the privileges and immunities clause of Article I §12 of the Washington State Constitution and impaired a contract under which Ventenbergs performed solid waste collection services in violation of Article I §23 of the Washington State Constitution. The trial court granted summary judgment for the city of Seattle, ruling that performing solid waste collection services is not a fundamental right protected by Article I §12 and that regulating solid waste collection is among the city’s police powers insofar as it affects health and safety and that the city may contract with whomever it wishes in exercising this power. Upon appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Ventenbergs appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of Washington.
Question(s): Does §21.36.030 violate the privileges and immunities clause of Article I §12 by granting special privileges to the companies with whom it contracts to provide solid waste collection services?
Is §21.36.030 a reasonable exercise of the city of Seattle’s police powers?
Did the city of Seattle fail to comply with the bidding procedures established by Washington Revised Code §35.21.156?
Did the city of Seattle’s granting of a monopoly to perform solid waste collection services exceed the authority granted to municipalities?
Conclusion: Justice Bridge’s opinion for the Court affirmed the Washington Court of Appeals, concluding that as performing solid waste collection services is a municipal police power, granting special privileges to the companies with whom the city of Seattle contracts to provide solid waste collection services does not violate Article I §12’s privileges and immunities clause insofar as there is no fundamental right to perform a government service. The Court also held that §21.36.030 is a reasonable exercise of the city’s police powers given that the city proffered reasonable grounds, including environmental concerns and the establishment of uniform delivery standards, for contracting exclusively with select companies and that the city had not failed to comply with §35.21.156’s bidding procedures insofar as §35.21.156 only applies to a subset of solid waste collection services. Finally, the Court found that the city had not exceeded the authority granted to municipalities given that Washington Revised Code §70.95.020 permits municipalities to grant exclusive collection and disposal privileges via contract.
Docket No. 76954-1
Petitioner: Josef Ventenbergs
(Counsel: William R. Maurer and Michael E. Bindas)
Respondent: City of Seattle
(Counsel: Gregory Colin Narver, William Howard Patton, Suzanne Lieberman Smith, Jessica L. Goldman, Polly L. McNeill, Andrew Michael Kenefick, David Welles Wiley, and Dana Andrew Ferestien)
Argument: Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, February 21st, 2008
Prevailing Party: City of Seattle (Respondent)
Court: Alexander4 Court (2008-2009)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.