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Casella Waste settles antitrust complaint

Rochester Business Journal
July 15, 2014

Casella Waste Systems Inc. has reached a settlement agreement with the state, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Monday. The waste hauling firm agreed to change its contract structures and pay $100,000 to New York.

The settlement resolves antitrust concerns that Casella’s restrictive contracting practices—combined with its market dominance and pattern of acquisitions of smaller competitors—unlawfully restrained competition in the North Country and Southern Tier, state officials said.

Casella is required by the settlement to change its contracts to reduce the legal and financial obstacles faced by customers who choose to switch to competing providers, state officials said. The firm has agreed not to enroll customers in contracts with an initial term of more than two years. Under the settlement, the firm also will reduce its early termination penalty fees.

Schneiderman’s office said the changes are expected to rejuvenate competition by reducing customers’ switching costs and facilitating new market entry. Casella also will now be required to report future acquisitions of competitors to Schneiderman’s office.

“There must be one set of rules for everyone, especially companies that provide essential services,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “By fighting for a level playing field in our state’s waste hauling industry, we can ensure New Yorkers receive the benefits of vigorous competition.”

Casella entered into similar settlements with the Vermont Attorney General’s office in 2002 and 2011.

After the news, the firm’s shares (Nasdaq: CWST) closed Monday at $5.06, at the low end of its 52-week trading range of $4.55 to $6.20. Midday Tuesday, shares were down 6 cents at $5.

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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