Magistrate Judge Rau will hear arguments on the Met Council’s motion for a protective order, which would prohibit LPA (us) from conducting any discovery until after the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is completed and the Record of Decision (ROD) is issued.
LPA served our initial discovery requests on the Met Council in early October, almost three months ago. We asked for various types of documents that we believe may establish, to the satisfaction of Judge Tunheim, that, in violation of federal law, none of the routes for the SWLRT remain under consideration except for the co-location alternative through the Kenilworth Corridor. For example, we believe that communications between the Met Council and the TC&W Railroad might be relevant in this regard, as well as communications between the Met Council and the municipalities along the proposed SWLRT route.
The Met Council filed its opposition to these requests just a few days ago, on December 28. We responded with our own brief Monday, January 4, pointing out that the Court has already twice rejected the Met Council argument that LPA must wait until the ROD has been issued before challenging the environmental review process. Judge Tunheim has written that LPA is presently entitled to bring a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) lawsuit since a state actor (the Met Council) may be taking action that will have eviscerated any post-ROD remedy that LPA might seek through the Administrative Procedure Act.
We are asking Magistrate Judge Rau to deny the motion for a protective order and to expedite discovery to make up for lost time.