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M. & O. Disposal Co. v. Township of Middletown

Decided: September 1, 1967.

M. & O. DISPOSAL CO., ETC. AND DISPOSAL ASSOCIATES, INC., ETC., PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Goldmann, Kilkenny and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Collester, J.A.D.

Collester

Defendant Township of Middletown appeals from a judgment entered in the Law Division based on a jury verdict awarding plaintiff contractors $53,046, and from a denial of defendant's motion for judgment and a new trial.

Following competitive bidding plaintiffs M. & O. Disposal Co. and Disposal Associates, Inc. (acting in joint venture) entered into a contract with defendant on December 8, 1960 to collect and dispose of garbage, refuse and rubbish in certain areas of the township for a three-year period, 1961-1963, at a contract price of $177,160.

In August 1964, after the contract had been performed and the contract price fully paid, plaintiffs brought suit to recover on quantum meruit for extra work allegedly performed during the three-year period at the request and direction of defendant township, its servants, agents and employees, which work plaintiffs claim was not required under the specifications of the contract.

Defendant township denied that plaintiffs performed extra work and asserted that the work they had performed was included under the terms of the contract. It alleged that any other work performed by plaintiffs was done without authorization of the township; that no servant, agent or employee

had authority to bind the township, and that no appropriation was ever made for the alleged extra work.

Plaintiffs' claim for additional compensation is based on their interpretation of paragraphs 12 and 28 of the specifications included in the contract. The paragraphs or those parts thereof which are pertinent read as follows:

"12. Definition of Terms

The term 'rubbish' and 'refuse' * * * shall be held to include all of the accumulations and waste substances from private houses and premises, boarding houses, stores, other buildings of whatever nature and public places, and shall include particularly such articles as ashes, discarded clothing, paper cartons, wooden boxes, crates, baskets, paper and paper materials, tin cans, rags, corn husks, grass, lawn and yard rakings, hedge and plant trimmings, provided such trimmings, etc. are tied in bundles or placed in containers, floor covering from residences, broken glass, bottles, discarded Christmas trees, crockery, metal beds and bed springs, metal leaders and gutters when removed for replacement, discarded household receptacles and utensils, toys and such other household equipment as may be discarded from a private residence, and such articles and things as are daily discarded from a private residence, and such articles and objects as are daily thrown into waste baskets and rubbish containers, but shall not include building materials nor the refuse from any new building, nor the refuse from any old building which is torn down in whole or in part, * * * trees, tree branches, tree stumps, waste from excavations, * * * The above materials are to be placed in containers weighing not more than seventy-five (75) pounds.

If and when any question arises as to what is intended to be collected and removed in the Township of Middletown, the Township of Middletown shall be the judge of what was intended to be covered by said contract or specifications." (Italics ours)

"28 Clean-Up Week

The contractors shall supply and use a sufficient number of trucks of ample power and capacity to render services in connection with three (3) cleanup weeks. These Clean-up Weeks shall be designated by the Township Committee. Use of the above mentioned trucks will be required to service the collection areas for Clean-up on the same day as regular collections take place. All vehicles used shall be subject to the Township or its duly authorized representative. All

open body trucks used in the collection of Clean-up Materials shall be equipped with tight-fitting canvas covers which will prevent any materials from spilling out, ...


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