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Associated Press, Published January 16 2010

Midcontinent wants ND lawsuit dismissed

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Midcontinent Communications is asking a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit that claims the company did not get proper permission from private landowners when it buried cable in North Dakota.

The lawsuit filed in Bismarck by New Salem farmer Dale Neidhardt seeks unspecified damages from South Dakota-based Midcontinent Communications Investors and Delaware-based TCI Midcontinent.

The dispute centers around cable buried on private property for which state, county or township governments have easements for roads. Neidhardt's lawsuit says Midcontinent might have obtained permits from the state or political subdivisions but should have known that the governments had no ownership in the land. The lawsuit says Midcontinent should have reached agreements with landowners for the use of their land.

Midcontinent says in its response that it complied with ``all applicable laws' when installing cable used for cable TV, high-speed Internet and telecommunications services.