Another ruling against Rochester City Lines in bus dispute

Company is suing over losing the city's bus contract in 2012 and 2016.

Posted: Aug 6, 2018 12:39 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2018 9:28 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Court of Appeals has again ruled against Rochester City Lines in a battle over Rochester’s bus service.

Rochester City Lines lost a competitive bidding process in 2012 to operate the city’s bus fleet, with the contract going to a company called First Transit. Rochester City Lines sued and the Minnesota Supreme Court eventually ruled that the district court should hold a full hearing on whether the bidding process was biased against the company. The judge in that hearing ruled the bidding process was fair and Rochester City Lines then appealed that decision.

On Monday, the Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s decision that Rochester City Line’s complaints about the bidding process amounted to “minor procedural defects.”

Rochester City Lines is also suing over the 2016 bidding process that awarded the city’s bus contract to First Transit again. A state Supreme Court ruling in that case has ordered a hearing on Rochester City Lines claims it was unfairly deprived of references in the bidding process, it was not credited for past performance, and the City of Rochester treated the company unfairly.

The City of Rochester issued the following statement in response to Monday's ruling:

"Over six years ago, Rochester City Lines Co. (RCL) sued the City of Rochester regarding the federally-mandated process for putting the City’s transit contracts up for bid. Today, the City won that case for the fourth time when the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgement in favor of the City and First Transit in an unpublished opinion. RCL continued to litigate about the procurement over three years after appellate rulings firmly closed the door to any meaningful recovery by RCL, over a year after the contract RCL was suing about was fully performed by the winning bidder, and after RCL lost a seven-day trial."

"At this stage, RCL can only prolong the case with court permission. The City hopes that RCL will take Judge Thompson’s post-trial rulings, and today’s opinion affirming them, to heart. But if RCL instead decides to litigate this case further, the City will continue to defend its decisions and the numerous court rulings that have upheld those decisions."

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