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City Lines lawsuit heads to Minnesota Supreme Court

A lawsuit filed against the City of Rochester by its former bus line operator has made its way to the state's highest court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case brought by Rochester City Lines against the city, an RCL spokesman said Wednesday.

It's the third court to hear the case. In April, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in the city's favor, affirming earlier decisions made by Olmsted County District Judge Joseph Chase, who in 2012 and 2013 dismissed four claims made by RCL.

The company claimed that: The city took RCL's property without compensation; the city's bidding process to award a bus contract was unfair and biased against RCL; the bidding process violated RCL's due-process rights; and that Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik defamed RCL.

The Court of Appeals' ruling upheld Chase's dismissal of all the claims made by City Lines, which is owned by Daniel Holter. The family-owned business ran in Rochester for nearly 50 years before being replaced in July 2012 by First Transit as the city bus operator.


Rochester City Attorney Terry Adkins said in April that the city has accrued $420,000 in legal fees to defend the lawsuit, which is being handled by the League of Minnesota Cities. The total cost of the lawsuit for the defense is $956,000, Adkins said at the time.

The Supreme Court ordered Wednesday that the matter be presented to it for a final decision.

The decision to review the case "gives RCL great hope that the courts will not allow otherwise prohibited misconduct under the mask of administrative discretion," Holter said. "This case is really all about fair and open competition."

Oral arguments in the case are anticipated to begin sometime late in the year, officials said.

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