• October 1, 2014

Poker ChipsUpdate (October 1, 2014)I hope that no one is shocked to learn that The Money Centers of America had no money to pay off the judgment that the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Kyle, J.) awarded the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians.

And now the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians might have substantially less money, having hired Faegre Baker Daniels (“FBD”) to sue MCA…One of the many extremely difficult calculations of civil litigation is whether the substantial investment is worth it when you have a risk of a “judgment proof” or insolvent defendant. For the sake of the Mille Lacs Band, I hope that the Band recognized this risk and hedged against it in its engagement with FBD (with, say, a contingent fee arrangement or at least a hybrid fee).

Update (February 19, 2014): Winning the lawsuit and collecting the cash are very often thought of as synonymous. Not so. And the inexorable and costly march from Point A to Point B requires tenacity, patience, and a recognition that some big winners turn out ultimately to be big losers. See the linked document for Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle’s veil-piercing analysis (D. Minn.).

Update (December 6, 2013): On news of the win of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Litigator wondered out loud whether the Band, at the end of the day, would be able to cash in its chips (otherwise known as “enforce the judgment that it won”).  The Band and its lawyers plainly share that concern.

Original Post (October 7, 2013):  Minnesota Litigator has previously covered the legal battle between the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians and Money Centers of America (“MCA”) (here and here).

The case has gone badly for MCA all along and now the tribe has prevailed on summary judgment against MCA to the tune of $5,623,690.83, plus prejudgment interest at a rate of 10% per year.  (Congratulations to the phalanx of Faegre lawyers, Jane E. Maschka and Michael Krauss and others, who have represented the tribe.)  And MCA’s counterclaims against the tribe have been tossed out.

It seems that this lawsuit, started in the Spring of 2012, was never really close.  This, in turn, might suggest that the challenge for the plaintiff was never whether it would prevail but whether it will ever collect.  District of Minnesota Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle’s order on cross-motions for summary judgment has the faintest hint of the potential challenge, concluding that summary judgment was emphatically “against MCA only” (and not the individual defendants).  MCA apparently did not have the cash to run its business with the Plaintiff properly, where will it come up with the cash now?

 

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