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U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery heard arguments Tuesday from the city of Minneapolis and a neighborhood organization seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by residents and business owners who say the Whittier Alliance is keeping minorities from leadership roles.

In March, a handful of members of the Alliance filed suit, saying that it had adjusted bylaws to keep Somali-American businesses from joining.

On Tuesday, Alliance attorney Matthew Webster argued that the plaintiffs didn't back up their claims with facts. Assistant Minneapolis city attorney Kristin Sarff said the case was "purely a private dispute."

Plaintiffs attorney Randall Tigue argued the new board requirements about "defamation" were aimed at his clients.