Minnesota Court of Appeals hears oral arguments on Rochester City Lines vs. City of Rochester, First Transit case

A legal battle spanning more than six years makes its way back to the courthouse where it all began.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based First Transit currently operates the Rochester bus system, after RCL lost the bid. A three-judge panel listened to oral arguments.

Back in 2012 Rochester City Council voted to end public transit with Rochester City Lines after a committee ranked 4 potential transit providers.

Each provider, including RCL, made a bid. RCL lost and immediately filed a lawsuit.

The case made its way to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2015, before it was sent back down to be tried again.

The question centered around what kind of bias, if any, there was in the selection process.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Thursday in Rochester City Line’s case against the city’s bidding process in 2012. 

" RCL seeks to change a complete loss at trial into a complete win on appeal, while admitting that it’s not challenging any of the 139 findings of fact made here," said City of Rochester Attorney John Baker.

In the initial fight five years ago, RCL claimed the city used a flawed competitive bidding process, that there were conflicts of interest, and that the city was biased and prejudiced against RCL.

"The awarding authority has arbitrarily taken elements of one presentation, and scored them unfairly to the benefit of another," said Rochester City Lines’ Attorney Steven Diaz.

The judges did not say when their decision on today’s arguments might be handed down.

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