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GJ&M back in court

The City of Afton and GJ&M Develomplment Inc. returned to court Jan. 13 at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

GJ&M's lawyers filed an appeal in April 2010 requesting a new jury trial.

GJ&M, a development group, alleges the city, a former mayor and a former city administrator acted wrongfully in handling a development application for a condominium and retail project.

During the initial jury trial, which concluded Dec. 8, 2009, at the Washington County Courthouse, Judge Mary Hannon ruled that GJ&M did not present sufficient evidence to show the city was liable for the actions of its employees related to its $16 million condominium project.

Gordie Jarvis, developer and owner of Afton House Inn, contended that his application was wrongfully ruled incomplete.

Hannon dismissed all of Jarvis' $6 million in damage claims. The jury ruled in favor of the city that the application was not complete.

"(The Court of Appeals) has a large task to work through that is a pretty complex case to work through no matter how you cut it," one of Afton's attorneys Daniel J. Cragg said.

During last Thursday's hearing, GJ&M argued the city could be responsible for the actions of its employees. Additionally, the developer argued the city's actions violated the Due Process Clause.

Cragg said there was no clear consensus among the three-judge panel.

"You don't want to read too much into everything," he said.

It will be roughly 90 days before the Court of Appeals issues an opinion.

"We have great confidence in the court of appeals," Cragg said. "We are hopeful that we will be granted a new trial."

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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