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Rochester City Lines Co. v. City of Rochester

Supreme Court of Minnesota

June 20, 2018

Rochester City Lines Co., Respondent,
v.
City of Rochester, et al, Appellants, First Transit, Inc., Appellant.

          Office of Appellate Courts Court Of Appeals

          Steven A. Diaz, Law Office of Steven A. Diaz, Washington, D.C.; and Gary A. Van Cleve, Rob A. Stefonowicz, Bryan J. Huntington, Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.

          John M. Baker, Monte A. Mills, Katherine M. Swenson, Greene Espel PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for appellants City of Rochester and Justin L. Templin.

          Charles K. Maier, Richard C. Landon, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for appellant First Transit, Inc.

          Susan L. Naughton, League of Minnesota Cities, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for amicus curiae League of Minnesota Cities.

          Mathew A. Ferche, Assistant Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for amici curiae Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Administration and Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Transportation.

          Dean B. Thomson, Jeffrey A. Wieland, Sara E. Porter, Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.

         SYLLABUS

         1. A bus operator did not properly raise an appearance-of-bias claim in its pre-bid protest of the city's competitive-bidding-contract-award process, and therefore forfeited its appearance-of-bias argument on appeal.

         2. Remand to the court of appeals of alternative issues raised, but not decided by that court, is warranted here.

         Reversed and remanded.

          OPINION

          McKeig, Justice.

         Appellant City of Rochester ("the City") owns a fleet of buses, which have been operated by appellant First Transit, Inc. ("First Transit") since 2012. Until 2012, however, these buses were operated by respondent Rochester City Lines Company ("RCL"). After the contract was awarded to First Transit, RCL challenged the City's competitive bidding process, which we addressed in Rochester City Lines, Co. v. City of Rochester (RCL I), 868 N.W.2d 655 (Minn. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 849 (2016). RCL has now also challenged the City's 2016 competitive-bidding process, which, like the 2012 process, resulted in the bus-operation contract being awarded to First Transit.

         The City's appointed moderator, appellant Justin Templin ("the Moderator"), rejected RCL's pre-bid protest. The court of appeals, however, held that the City's Request for Proposals ("RFP") appeared impermissibly biased against RCL, because five of the eight members of the 2016 proposal evaluation committee had served on the 2012 proposal evaluation committee, and RCL had previously accused the 2012 proposal evaluation committee of bias. Rochester City Lines Co. v. City of Rochester, 897 N.W.2d 792');">897 N.W.2d 792, 799-800 (Minn. 2017) (hereinafter "Rochester City Lines"). The court of appeals ...


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