North Charleston's lawsuit over the use of railroad lines on the former Navy base has been assigned by the S.C. Supreme Court to retired 5th Circuit Judge J. Ernest Kinard.

The state's high court said in an order dated Tuesday that its decision would "promote the effective and expeditious disposition" of all the litigation in the complicated dispute.

The state Commerce Department wants to use rail lines on the north end of the base to serve a new port terminal being built farther south. The city alleges state leaders of breaking a 2002 agreement calling for the port's rail service to travel only through the south end of the property.