City of Helena, local utility provider settle dueling lawsuits

Nolan Lister

The city of Helena and local internet service provider Treasure State Internet & Telegraph have settled dueling lawsuits.

Both parties have agreed to walk away and no money was exchanged, according to court documents filed Jan. 10.

The internet service provider and public utility company filed the initial lawsuit against the city in Montana 1st Judicial District Court on Aug. 27, 2020, seeking $1.5 million in damages and alleging city staff unlawfully interfered with its operations within city rights of way from the summer of 2015 to April 2020.

The city’s counterclaim, filed April 19, 2020, asserts that TSI&T’s allegations were baseless and that to “prevail on its claim for tortious interference, TSI&T must prove malice… The City did not act with malice.”

TSI&T claimed in its initial suit that city staff repeatedly failed to provide the city engineering standards that city officials said the utility failed to meet as part of its micro-trenching projects from 2015 to 2017.

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In the city’s counterclaim, it argues that city code defers to Montana Public Works Standard Specifications with regard to such work, to which TSI&T did not adhere.

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