Legal fees continue to mount in the battle over who will pick up the city of Jackson’s trash

Richard's Disposal truck running in city of Jackson.
Richard's Disposal truck running in city of Jackson.(WLBT)
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 4:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Legal fees continue to mount for the city of Jackson in the battle over who will pick up residents’ trash.

Monday, WLBT obtained a copy of legal fees for DeShun Martin, an attorney representing the city council in its case against Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

According to a redacted invoice, Martin put in 93.63 hours in the city’s previous chancery court case, for a total amount of $23,407.50.

Martin charges $250 per hour, the invoice states.

Martin, along with John Scanlon, will continue to represent the council in its latest challenge against the mayor, which is pending before retired Court of Appeals Judge Larry Roberts of Meridian.

The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Roberts on June 1, after all Hinds County chancery judges recused themselves in the matter.

The mayor is represented by attorneys with the Law Offices of Felicia Perkins.

The total amount billed to the city so far totals more than $161,000.

[Click here to see totals for other attorneys in trash-related cases.]

Meanwhile, there appears to be some movement in the council’s latest case against the mayor, which would determine whether the mayor could veto a council no-vote.

On June 13, Roberts has set a hearing for 10 a.m., Friday, July 8, to discuss summary judgment motions and whether there should be a trial.

Parties must submit any briefs in the case before Tuesday, July 5, the judge ordered.

The council filed a suit in chancery court last month to determine whether the city’s chief executive can veto a negative action of the legislative body.

The veto question has been at the heart of the city’s trash debate since March when retired Justice Jess Dickinson ruled in the previous case between the two bodies.

At the time, Dickinson ruled that contracts were not binding unless they were signed off on by the council. However, he included a footnote in his March 31 order, saying the mayor could hypothetically veto a no vote.

At a meeting the following day, Mayor Lumumba vetoed the council’s decision to deny awarding an emergency trash hauling contract to Richard’s Disposal, citing the judge’s ruling.

Richard’s has been picking up trash in the Capital City since. However, they have yet to be paid for the work, with the council recently rejecting a roughly $800,000 invoice for the month of April.

(The mayor issued a notice to proceed to Richard’s prior to April 1. Attorneys for the council, in turn, issued a cease and desist notice to stop picking up waste.)

Lumumba didn’t know how long Richard’s could go without being paid and told reporters Monday that would be a question for the New Orleans-based firm.

“I cannot tell you any timelines for when they will assert their lawful right to be paid,” he said. “I think, we can’t imagine a circumstance where a company is doing work and (doesn’t) eventually assert their rights.”

“I don’t know when that timeline is. We’re just moving in the direction of making sure the services residents expect are performed.”

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