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Monday, October 21, 2019

West Whiteland sues trash bag company over thickness of product, wins at Commonwealth Court


By Gabriel Neves | Jan 23, 2019

| Pexels

HARRISBURG -- The Commonwealth Court upheld a ruling against a trash bag maker that was found in a breach of contract with a Pennsylvania township.

Judge Robert Simpson wrote a 20-page ruling issued on Jan. 4 affirming the Chester County Court of Common Pleas' decision in the lawsuit filed by West Whiteland Township against Interboro Packaging Corp.

West Whiteland sued Interboro for breach of contract, alleging that the trash bags delivered to the township had lower quality than the sample bags presented during the bidding process. The court affirmed the breach of contract against Interboro, as well as the attorney's fees and court costs awarded to West Whiteland.

As stated in the ruling, "In August 2013, the Township issued an RFP, Specification No. 2013-17, for 400,000 trash bags for use in its existing 'Pay as You Throw' municipal trash and recycling program," which required bidders to comply with certain specifications, such as size, color, and thickness.

Interboro submitted its bid on Aug. 20, 2013 and Aug. 26, 2013, with a price of $22.82 per case, totaling $45,640. The requisition asked bidders that the minimum thickness should be 1.9 mil, but Interboro calculated the cost of the bags based on a 1.5 mil thickness.

The contract was awarded to Interboro, with the first order being placed on Oct. 24, 2013.

Upon receiving the bags, the township noticed the difference in thickness.

"In early November 2013, Interboro had Inteplast deliver 1,936 cases of trash bags purportedly containing 387,200 trash bags to the Township. Immediately upon arrival of the shipment, the Township’s purchasing agent noticed that the logo printing was incorrect and the bags felt thinner and were more transparent, indicating that the thickness was incorrect. The Township’s purchasing agent informed the truck driver that the Township rejected the shipment and noted that the 'bags did not meet specs' on the bill of lading," the ruling said.

After tests that confirmed the lower thickness, West Whiteland sent Interboro a notice to terminate the agreement, which was confirmed on a letter dated Jan. 10, 2014.

Both parties have sued each other for breach of contract, with Interboro losing its case.

In his ruling, Simpson dismissed Interboro's claims of error on the lower court decision, stating that "after reviewing the record, the parties’ briefs, and the law in this area, we see no need to elaborate on the trial court’s thorough and thoughtful opinions."

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Case No. is 473 C.D. 2018.

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