Event planner loses appeal on counterclaim

A former Minot event planner has lost her appeal in the N.D. Supreme Court regarding a counterclaim she filed against the N.D. Attorney General’s Office in 2018 consumer fraud case.

The Supreme Court has upheld a North Central District Court sanction against Terpsehore Maras for failing to provide discovery documents requested by the Attorney General’s Office and also the lower court’s judgment dismissing her counterclaim.

In January 2018, the Attorney General’s Office took Maras to court to enforce subpoenas during an investigation of possible violation of consumer fraud protection laws in connection with a planned fundraiser, “A Magic City Christmas” in December 2017. In July 2018, the Attorney General brought a case seeking penalties, restitution and costs for alleged violations of the law as well as an injunction and cancellation of trade name. Maras filed a counterclaim for abuse of process, seeking monetary damages.

The district court dismissed the counterclaim, concluding it lacked jurisdiction because Maras had not compiled with a state law that requires notice to be given to the state Office of Management and Budget when filing a claim against the state or its employees.

Maras argued the law requiring notice doesn’t apply to compulsory counterclaims. The Supreme Court ruled the law applies due to the counterclaim’s request for money damages.

Maras argued her failure to comply with discovery requests was permissible because the requests were for information of which she was not in possession or that the Attorney General already had. The Supreme Court cited case law establishing that court orders, even if believed erroneous, must be followed.

The district court had ordered Maras to pay $9,000 in civil penalties and $16,618 in costs and attorney fees in the consumer fraud case.


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