JACC Lawsuits Getting Resolved

For the details, I’m going to refer the reader to the Johnny Northside blog, but I’ll summarize the good news here:

  1. Judge Porter dismissed the attempt by the former JACC Executive Committee Members (and others) to reverse January’s election of officers.  No one will be reinstated.  The current Executive Committee (Michael K. Browne, President; P.J. Hubbard, Vice President; Robert Hodson, Treasurer; and Anne McCandless, Secretary) remains in charge.
  2. Judge Porter also dismissed the defamation lawsuit of Ben Myers against Dennis Wagner, Megan Goodmundson and Anne McCandless and awarded attorney fees to the defendants (Dennis, Megan, and Anne).  The decision was made under the anti-SLAPP law which made payment of attorney fees possible.  For details about the anti-SLAPP definition, see my post here.
  3. Ben Myers is currently not allowed to practice law in Minnesota.  The reason stated on the Board of Professional Responsibility website is nonpayment of fees. (See NOTE below.)

It seems that Mr. Myers’ world is collapsing around him.  I could almost feel sorry for him if …it were not for the huge amount of damage he has done to the neighborhood and to individuals.  Legal bills for Dennis, Megan and Anne for the defamation lawsuit were approaching $3,000 each.  The judge awarded roughly $2,300 in attorney fees total, so each of the defendants will get about $800.  They had filed a countersuit against Mr. Myers for abuse of process, and that generated part of the total attorney fees.  That part cannot be charged to Mr. Myers.  That counterclaim was also dismissed by Judge Porter.  The first lawsuit (for defamation) was filed in August of 2008, so there has been eleven months of high stress for these individuals as they met with attorneys, sat in court, generated the many documents the attorneys needed to defend them, etc.  And, of course, that all meant a lot of lost time,  hours and hours and hours.

The cost to the Jordan neighborhood is also significant.  While the organization’s Director’s and Officers Liability insurance policy covers the cost of defending against the attempt to remove the current Executive Committee, the policy comes with a $10,000 deductible that JACC must pay.  This will come out of money that was meant to do good for the neighborhood, not pay legal fees.

So Mr. Myers lawsuits have cost nearly $20,000 for JACC and the individuals sued.  He will have to pay $2300-2400 in attorney fees.  Not a very equitable resolution. The lawsuit decisions, however, at least bring justice to those who were sued.

NOTE:  In the time it took me to write this post, the site of the Board of Professional Responsibility has been updated, and it now shows Mr. Myers as authorized to practice law in Minnesota.  Fees must have been paid today and the site updated this evening.  Mr. Myers does a much better job of keeping up with his professional fees than he does with property taxes, which he has not paid on his Jordan home since he purchased it more than three years ago.  I wonder how long it will take for Mr. Myers to pay those attorney fees for the three defendants.


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