• May 6, 2014


Ouroboros: The Self-Devouring Snake

Ouroboros: The Self-Devouring Snake

May 6, 2014 Update: Orono’s Jay Nygard’s lawsuit against Dennis Walsh, discussed in this post below, was thrown out of court, failing to survive a motion to dismiss based on Minnesota’s “anti strategic litigation against public participation” (“anti-SLAPP”) statute. The trial court’s decision was affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals this past February (linked in the post below).

Say what you will about Mr. Nygard (but be very very careful), but he does not seem to be a quitter. He unsurprisingly sought review of the adverse decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Court granted Mr. Nygard’s petition as the case might be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision the Leiendecker, et al. v. Asian Women United of Minnesota, et al. case.

The paradoxical natures of these anti-SLAPP cases — Nygard, the Leiendecker case, and the Nielsen case — are remarkable. How are courts to disentangle when going to court is perpetuation or perpetration of injustice rather than an essential aspect of our society’s dispensing justice?

The easy cases are those in which an evil-doer sues a news company for uncovering his evil deeds or when a wealthy tyrant brings frivolous claims to silence or deplete the resources of a political foe.  But it is not very difficult to modify these hypotheticals slightly and complicate the problem a lot.


(April 9, 2014 Update): (Subject Line: Nygard Strikes Again) Some people feel more strongly than others about asserting what they believe to be their legal rights. Mr. Jay T. Nygard (“Radio Personality at Green Power Hour, President at Minnesota Wind Technology, President at Go Green Energy”) has prevailed in his latest appeal of his latest property dispute. He might warrant a dedicated blog for his numerous recent contributions to Minnesota civil litigation?

Original Post (2/16/2014) (under the subject line:The Challenge of the Biblical Command to Love Thy Neighbor): In an earlier post, I posed the question of how we are to use this commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves in our day-to-day lives. It is ambiguous, at best.

We all know, though, that this is really just one more way of articulating the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

All of these rules are related to the social strategy of “tit for tat” (otherwise known as: “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”).  It is all about reciprocity.

But these time-tested and excellent social strategies gloss over the challenges we  face when we deal with bad people — that is unpleasant and aggressive people.  How are we supposed to treat them “as ourselves” when we are good people and they are ***holes?

I am not saying that Jay T. Nygard of Orono is an unpleasant or aggressive ***hole but it is fairly uncontroversial to say that he has more run-ins with this neighbors and his community than many of us do and, for whatever reasons, it seems Mr. Nygard’s neighbors may be finding the biblical command hard to follow.

Mr. Nygard had a run-in with neighbors over a fence that he did not like. Mr. Nygard also went toe-to-toe with Orono. And, recently, Mr. Nygard unsuccessfully sued a neighbor for defamation and then some in response to the neighbor’s complaints voiced at a November, 2011 Orono City Council meeting.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals’ unpublished decision affirming dismissal of Nygard’s complaint will be of interest to Minnesota civil litigators for its discussion of Minnesota’s anti-SLAPP statute (a statute to protect citizens’ rights to seek government action by devising a procedure to throw out “strategic litigation against public participation”).

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