Consumer case stays alive for more filings
Both sides confident in Attorney General lawsuit
In the latest court action in a consumer protection case, a Minot woman was granted time to respond to a fraud complaint of the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office.
At a hearing before Northwest District Judge Todd Cresap Monday, Terpsehore Maras Lindeman and her attorney, David Thompson of Grand Forks, sought procedural clarification to deal with a request for dismissal filed by Lindeman early in the case before being represented by counsel. Cresap denied the dismissal but granted 14 days for Lindeman to file a response to the complaint, which hadn’t been filed due to the pending dismissal request.
The Attorney General’s Office states Lindeman failed to register as a charitable organization and inappropriately used funds donated in her organization of “A Magic City Christmas” as a charitable event in 2017. Lindeman has argued her efforts didn’t fall under the requirement to register and denies any misrepresentation or misuse of funds.
The two sides also are in court in a separate case in which the Attorney General is asking to compel Lindeman to release information for its investigation.
In the case heard Monday, the Attorney General’s Office pressed for summary judgment in the state’s favor. The state’s position led to a discussion about proper procedures in such cases, whether the time for Lindeman to file a response had passed and whether Lindeman properly sent notice of her dismissal request to the Attorney General.
Cresap held that summary judgment without hearing from the defendant would be inappropriate.
Thompson welcomed the chance to respond to the Attorney General’s allegations and to seek information from the Attorney General about matters driving the allegations.
“We should be given the opportunity of discovery of the Attorney General’s Office to get to the bottom of what has been a vindictive onslaught against Tore Lindeman,” he said.
Parrell Grossman, an attorney and director of the consumer protection division within the Attorney General’s Office, said the Attorney General’s Office believes it has a strong case. He said the judge’s decision not to issue summary judgment means “there won’t be what we think was a legally supported shortcut to bring this matter to a more prompt conclusion. Honestly, we are not concerned that the matter ultimately could go to trial because we believe the facts are strongly on our side.”
“The bottom line is this just kicks the can down the road, and there will be some more time and expense,” he said, “but we remain highly confident we will be successful.”