Metro Service Group Files for Chapter 11 Protection
NEW ORLEANS — On Oct. 6, attorneys for Metro Service Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in federal court in New Orleans. The beleaguered trash hauler serves approximately 73,000 homes in Lakeview, New Orleans East, the Lower 9th Ward and Gentilly.
The company said multiple grievances with the City of New Orleans led to the action.
“Metro’s filing was necessary to protect its contractual rights, as well as the rights of its employees and creditors,” said a spokesperson in an Oct. 6 press release. “Any prior service disruptions under Metro’s contract with the City were the result of the pandemic and Hurricane Ida (force majeure), both of which were declared emergencies by the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. … The administration’s inability or unwillingness to address those emergencies led to this filing.”
The press secretary for the City of New Orleans, John F. Lawson II, said the city is currently assessing its legal options in response to the filing.
“The City will continue to expend additional resources to ensure that Lakeview, New Orleans East and all of Service Area 2 solid waste collection services are not interrupted,” he said.
Metro listed several grievances with the City in its announcement. One of the primary ones: the City did nothing to address the problem of increased levels of trash during the pandemic and recent storms.
“When the Mayor implemented the stay-at-home orders, knowing that 30% of all commercial waste would be moved to household trash cans, [she] did nothing to remedy that,” said the spokesperson. “In fact, without bringing in additional labor and equipment, it would have been impossible for any company to pick up the additional tonnage of garbage as a direct result of the stay-at-home orders, and the excess tonnage due to Hurricane Ida (after the whole City was without power for two weeks, and everyone emptied out their refrigerators and freezers). Yet, the administration stalled taking action for weeks. Instead, the administration blamed the local contractors for not picking up the garbage as though the pandemic and the Hurricane never happened.”
Metro also says it collected waste from roughly 5,000 homes without compensation, it wasn’t paid for excess tonnage and that the city acted in bad faith by rebidding work that is under contract to Metro through March 2024.
Founded in 1982 by brothers Glenn and Jimmie Woods, Metro said it intends to continue to provide trash hauling services during the chapter 11 process.