If the high-profile contaminated soil case goes to a jury trial, jurors will have to decide if Ramapo removed any contaminated soil as it was contracted to do and if it billed the local sewer district for the work regardless, a judge ruled this week.The decision is the latest step marching Ramapo and the Rockland Sewer District toward a courtroom showdown in the district’s $2 million lawsuit against the cash-strapped town of Ramapo. The case could also be heard by a judge, or even settled.
Supreme Court Justice Thomas Walsh scheduled a pretrial conference for March 21 to set the stage for the county’s case against Ramapo. The county represents the sewer district.
Walsh’s decision Feb. 13 would let a jury decide how much dirt had been removed by Ramapo, if any, and if the financially strapped town took taxpayer money and didn’t do the work as contracted with the Sewer District.
The Sewer District is claiming Ramapo took a $400,000 advance in 2012 to remove 35,000 cubic yards of what was deemed then as non-hazardous contaminated soil. However, the county claims, Ramapo didn’t remove the soil or only a minimal amount that didn’t meet the contract.
The entire no-bid, inter-municipal contract to Ramapo totaled $800,000 to remove soil stored at Sloatsburg’s Community Field and three locations in Hillburn as part of the district’s more than $18 million sewer expansion project.
County Attorney Thomas Humback told The Journal News:
“We have an equitable claim of unjust enrichment,” Humbach said. “We gave Ramapo $400,000 and they did nothing. They took the money and didn’t do the work.”
Humbach said he’s looking forward to a trial.
“We have to go to trial,” Humbach said. “I am not unhappy with the decision. We will have to win at trial.”
Read the complete Journal News story here.