MPR's lawsuit over light rail appears headed for trial

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Minnesota Public Radio's lawsuit against the Metropolitan Council appears to be headed for trial this fall.

The suit stems from a dispute over the Council's plans to minimize vibration from the Central Corridor light rail trains that will travel in front of MPR's downtown St. Paul headquarters.

MPR attorney Jim Bullard said the Met Council's noise and vibration mitigation plan falls short of a previous agreement between MPR and the council. The council maintains that the plan is consistent with the terms of the agreement.

Bullard said the parties met recently to try to reach an out-of-court settlement, but failed.

"We went to a mediation, that was on January 19. And we were not successful in reaching the compromise that either side could accept," he said.

Bullard said MPR is open to more talks, but is not optimistic about an out-of-court settlement.

Met Council spokesman Steve Dornfeld said the council is also open to further mediation.

"We had a one-day mediation in January," said Dornfeld. "We agreed that we would be open to further mediation before a trial is held. The district court is likely to order another round of mediation. My understanding is that both parties expressed an openness to pursue a settlement through mediation at some time in the future."

A conference between the parties is scheduled for next week, in order to update a new judge who recently assigned to oversee the case.