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UPDATED: Jury rules in favor of city in Afton trial

The six-day trial of GJ&M Development Inc. v. Afton has reached its end, with the jury reaching a verdict in favor of the city.

Following the afternoon break during Monday's trial, Afton's attorney made a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims since they felt that they did not present substantial evidence to prove their case.

Judge Mary Hannon made a judgment for a matter of law in favor of the city and threw out all of the constitutional claims, thus eliminating the damage claims. Jarvis was claiming over $5 million in damages.

The jury only made a ruling on the statutory claims.

Tuesday morning, the parties made their closing arguments and the jury began deliberating on one of the counts -- whether or not GJ&M's conditional use permit application was complete. After roughly three hours of deliberation the seven-person jury came to the verdict that the CUP was not complete.

The initial lawsuit between Afton and GJ&M was filed in 2007 by developer Gordy Jarvis, who claims the city illegally executed a moratorium on downtown development, which stopped his proposed Afton Center project. Jarvis also alleges his development application was wrongfully ruled incomplete and thrown out by the city.

With the jury's verdict, Jarvis was denied any ability to build his project as proposed.

"It is such a relief," Afton Mayor Pat Snyder said. "It's very good to finally have it over."

Jarvis said he has not made a decision on whether or not he will appeal the decision and would not comment on his future working relationship with the city.

"Obviously I'm disappointed in the decision," he aid, "but life goes on."

Check for updates.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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