SW Legal studies in Business

Local Ordinance Controlling Scrap Yard Does Not Violate Federal or State Law
Description

Maine high court held that a new city ordinance imposing greater controls on a scrap metal facility was not preempted by a state law regulating scrap yards, and the ordinance did not violate any federal constitutional guarantees.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Preemption; Local Ordinance; State Law; Federal Law

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Perry Iron operated a scrap metal recycling facility in Portland, Maine, for years and held an operating license from the city under the state’s Junkyard and Automobile Graveyard statute. The city adopted a new Scrap Metal Recycling Facilities ordinance to closely regulate such facilities. Perry sued, contending that the ordinance is preempted by the Maine Solid Waste Act. Perry also contended the ordinance violated state and federal equal protection and substantive due process rights and violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The trial court found that the ordinance was not preempted by the Solid Waste Act, and it was not unconstitutional. Perry appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. There is no violation of the equal protection clause because similarly situated persons are treated the same under the ordinance; Perry is not being subjected to controls that similar businesses would not have to face. Nor is there a showing of selective enforcement or of arbitrary or irrational discrimination. There is no violation of due process because Perry has not shown that the ordinance is invalid or established the absence of facts that would show that the ordinance was not needed. There is no violation of the Commerce Clause because there is no discrimination against interstate commerce. The ordinance did not violate the Solid Waste Act because it does not impose any stricter standards than those imposed by the Act, and the ordinance did not frustrate the purpose of the Act.

Citation

E. Perry Iron & Metal Co. v. City of Portland, Me., 941 A.2d 457 (Sup. Ct., Maine, 2008)

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