Judge tosses MPR’s light-rail suit


The Ramsey County District Court on Friday dismissed Minnesota Public Radio’s breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Metropolitan Council over the Central Corridor light rail.

The suit, originally filed on Feb. 4, 2010, accused the Met Council of choosing an inadequate vibration and noise mitigation system for the light rail, which will pass outside MPR’s broadcast and recording studio in downtown St. Paul. MPR cited concerns that the vibration and noise of the light rail would affect its recordings.

MPR said in the suit that it had hoped the Met Council would use a steel spring system that had a good track record for protecting from vibration, but the Council had opted for a cheaper rubber pad method.

“Our lawsuit was based on the advice our engineering experts that the vibration mitigation system … was not designed to meet the standards of the agreement we have with the Met Council,” said MPR spokeswoman Christina Schmitt in an email.

According to an article on the suit by MPR, Judge Elena Ostby threw the case out, stating it was “premature” and that the rubber pad doesn’t have a bad track record and may sufficiently protect the studio from vibration and noise.

“The Council is gratified at today’s action by the Ramsey County District Court to dismiss MPR’s lawsuit,” said Sue Haigh, chairwoman of the Met Council, in a statement. “We have always felt the contract between the Council and MPR is clear and unambiguous. The Council has and will continue to honor its contract with MPR to mitigate vibration near the MPR building.”

Schmitt said MPR will continue to support the light rail and work with the Met Council.

“While we are disappointed by Judge Ostby’s ruling that an unproven system can be used, we are pleased that she affirmed the Met Council’s obligation to meet the standards,” Schmitt said. “If the system chosen by the Met Council fails to do this, the judge has confirmed that it will have to be replaced.”