by John Hoff
It was about a year ago I wrote the story of how Kevin M. and Valerie Holler sank a North Minneapolis library project by refusing to sell their crap bag rental property, pictured above. Here's another blog post on the same topic, click here.
Well it turns out the Hollers are not only obstructionist dunderheads but lawsuit happy as well. Somehow I didn't catch wind of this rank odor wafting on the air, but it turns out the Hollers sued two Hennepin County Commissioners (Opat and Stenglein) plus Hennepin County itself for defamation, which is (as we all saw with the Jerry Moore v. Johnny Northside case) the last legal resort of bad actors and bit player dirtbags who are stung by the deep, probing, hurtful truth.
Here's a link to the order that resolved the Holler lawsuit at the district court level. Also, it just so happens that an email sent by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office bounced around in the email-o-sphere and found its way to me...
The email was sent on April 11 by Dan Rogan in the Hennpin County Attorney's Office and it's a good summary of what took place. Here it is, word for word.
As you may know, the Hollers brought a defamation lawsuit against Commissioners Opat and Stenglein and against Hennepin County. The Hollers asserted that certain comments made by Commissioners Opat and Stenglein regarding the Hollers' decision not to sell their property were defamatory. They also asserted that the resolution passed by the Board in May 2012 that removed the Weber Park Library from the Capital Budget was defamatory.
We moved to dismiss the case as a matter of law and a hearing on the motion was held on February 25, 2013. The opinion, which we received today, is attached. It is short (13 pages). Judge Reilly adopted most of our arguments. She found many of the statements were not actionable because they were statements of opinion, were hyperbolic, or rhetorical. She also concluded that many of the statements were not actionable because the were true or were substantially true. Finally, she also found that the Hollers were not "defamed" because the statements did not harm their reputations.
Judge Reilly did not reach our other basis for having the case dismissed -- that there is a privilege because Commissioners Opat and Stenglein were both elected officials speaking on matters of public concern.
This is a complete victory and will be difficult for the Hollers to win on appeal because Judge Reilly held that their claims failed for multiple independent reasons.
We will keep you posted if the Hollers appeal OR if they seek to bring a new case with an amended complaint (which they could do instead of appealing).
As you know, the case was litigated by Paul Hannah and Rebecca Holschuh from the Civil Division, who did an outstanding job presenting the multiple reasons the Hollers' claims failed.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Hennepin County Attorney's Office
Did the Hollers just go after "deep pockets" or...or...
Well, for a clue what I am thinking, check out the YouTube embed below.