IJ Washington Chapter Asks State High Court To Break Open Seattle Monopolies

John Kramer
John Kramer · May 4, 2005

Seattle, Wash.—Today, the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter (IJ-WA) asked the Washington Supreme Court to review a Court of Appeals decision upholding Seattle’s creation of construction waste hauling monopolies for Rabanco, Ltd. and Waste Management of Washington, Inc. IJ-WA is asking the high court to “grant review” of the case because the Court of Appeals’ decision, if allowed to stand, would sound a death knell for independent haulers in the City and restrict consumer choice and leverage because consumers would be limited to only those companies the City of Seattle selects.

The case, Ventenbergs v. City of Seattle, was filed on behalf of Joe Ventenbergs, who owns the Seattle-based Kendall Trucking, Inc., and Ron Haider, owner of the Lynnwood-based Haider Construction, Inc. Kendall Trucking wants to haul so-called “construction waste” from construction and demolition sites. Construction waste haulers provide dumpsters to the sites; the construction and demolition companies fill up these dumpsters with construction waste; and then the haulers take away the dumpsters and unload the contents at transfer stations. One of the construction companies that wishes to be able to hire Ventenbergs is Haider Construction, Inc., but the City mandates that Haider may only use those companies the City approves—Rabanco and Waste Management.

Rather than encourage entrepreneurs like Joe and Ron, however, the City of Seattle made it illegal for them to do business with each other. IJ-WA’s filing today asks the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the City’s restriction of the market in hauling construction waste only to Rabanco and Waste Management.

“We hope that the Supreme Court will accept review because the City’s position is that it can put anyone it wants out of business in order to preserve the market share of well-connected large companies,” said William Maurer, the executive director of the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter, which filed the suit on behalf of Ventenbergs and Haider. “The Court of Appeals’ decision adopting the City’s arguments is inconsistent with the right to earn an honest living guaranteed by the Washington Constitution and should be reviewed by the Supreme Court.”

IJ-WA Staff Attorney Jeanette Petersen added, “We are hopeful the Supreme Court will review the case because the evidence clearly demonstrated that the City restricted the market in construction waste hauling not for any public health and safety reasons, but to favor two established companies. The Supreme Court should correct that mistake.”