Duluth BizPac has come to an agreement with the Duluth Transit Authority to avoid litigation, the group said Tuesday.
The issue stems from a Spring 2019 deal to advertise political messages on DTA buses. Plaintiffs contend they designed three ads, which were approved by the DTA, and those ads were placed on DTA buses. Later, "The City of Duluth and the DTA arbitrarily and capriciously chose to have the advertisements removed from the buses, in breach of the advertising contract and in violation of BizPac’s right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," BizPac said in a July 19 letter to the city submitted by Trial Group North. "The removal of the advertisements had no basis other than the arbitrary and discriminatory misapplication of the DTA Advertising Policy," said the letter, which advised BizPac intended to bring a claim against the city of Duluth and the Duluth Transportation Authority for violations of the First Amendment right to free speech.
BizPac said the new agreement now allows it to advertise on DTA buses.
"We are happy that the DTA agreed to post our advertising on its buses so that our message will be seen by all Duluthians. We did not want to get to this point, but are pleased to have this issue resolved so BizPac can continue to voice opinions regarding issues facing everyone in our city," the group said in a prepared statement.
Duluth BizPac is a political action committee that says it is committed to improving the image of Duluth as a business community.
The city of Duluth did not participate in the settlement, BizPac said in its Tuesday announcement.