Minneapolis, Minn,—Today, the Federal District Court in St. Paul decided that the City of Red Wing cannot violate the civil rights of Paul Larson and Dale Gibson and that the two must have their day in court. Specifically, Judge Richard Kyle issued a preliminary injunction that stops the City of Red Wing from implementing its recently enacted trash ordinance that requires all commercial and industrial waste to be sent only to the municipal incinerator.
Larson and Gibson each run a private trash hauling business and want nothing more than to keep working in Red Wing, Minn., without facing discriminatory government regulations. However, the City Council passed an ordinance in August that will force Gibson and Larson to subsidize the City’s inefficient incinerator by making it illegal to continue having the freedom to choose the waste-processing site that best serves them and their customers. The law, scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2007, was placed on hold until the Court rules on a lawsuit filed December 6 by the Institute for Justice.
“We’re very pleased the Court sees that Dale and Paul should be able to continue serving their customers,” said Lee McGrath, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter, which represents Paul and Dale in their fight to earn an honest living. “This law is blatantly unconstitutional. We’re confident the courts will ultimately acknowledge that the City of Red Wing may not forbid the exporting of trash any more than it may stop the exporting of Red Wing’s famous shoes or the importing of Wisconsin cheese.”
Should the City’s unconstitutional ordinance go into effect, it will effectively stop Larson and Gibson from doing business in Red Wing and throughout Goodhue County, since Red Wing serves as the County hub for trash hauling. Their customers will have to begin doing business with their competitors, signing contracts ranging from one to three years.
Paul’s Industrial Garage, LLC et. al. v. City of Red Wing is IJ-MN’s sixth lawsuit in its campaign to restore the right to earn an honest living, property rights and free speech under the Minnesota and U.S. constitutions. Opened in 2005, IJ-MN is one of three state chapters of the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm founded in 1991 to advance economic liberty, property rights, free speech and educational choice.