FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On August 3, Judge Stephen Tabor ruled in favor of a group of plaintiffs that filed a class-action lawsuit against the City of Fort Smith because of recycling that was not performed for nearly two years.

In the nine-page ruling, Judge Tabor from the Circuit Court of Sebastian County calculated that the city must pay damages in the amount of $745,057.85 to the plaintiffs in the class.

The simplest explanation for why the public should care about recycling as a separate benefit and why they should expect the benefits obtained by recycling is because the City cared about recycling and because the City knew it was an expected benefit.

The lack of honesty by the City is at the very center of this case and must be acknowledged. Citizens should be able to trust the officials overseeing their business to be honest and transparent.

Judge Stephen Tabor, Sebastian County Circuit Court ruling, August 3

Jennifer Merriott filed suit in 2017, stating that the city had transported over 7,700 tons of residential recyclable material to a landfill because no recycling facility was available to receive the material, adding that “the City also kept residents unaware that their monthly sanitation fees were paying for the continued and needless use of curbside recycling trucks.”

Merriott filed a class action suit on behalf of herself and other residents that paid a monthly sanitation fee over the 22-month period in question. She sued the city for $853,000 in order to give those people a refund.