• September 19, 2016

Slimed Person cropped SLIMEReferee Jason T. Hutchison, Judicial Referee, heard this matter on January 28, 2016, February 16, 2016, March 4, 2016, March 11, 2016, March 16, 2016, March 21, 2016, March 28, 2016, March 29, 2016, April 14, 2016, April 18, 2016, April 26, 2016, April 27, 2016, April 29, 2016, May 19, 2016, May 20, 2016, June 1, 2016, June 8, 2016, June 9, 2016, June 13, 2016, June 15, 2016, June 16, 2016, and July 25, 2016.

That is, Referee Hutchinson appears to have presided over TWENTY-TWO hearings in a single housing court proceeding.

The dispute centered on an apartment building located at 3057 14th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota (“the Property”).

To my mind, reading Referee Hutchison’s order from this past week, the only thing that remains to be decided is this: what is more distasteful: roach, bedbug, or mice infestation (as defined here) or Mr. Stephen Frenz, the owner of the Property? In addition to an award of attorneys’ fees against him, Frenz faces potential punitive damages, administrative repercussions, etc., etc.

SpankingCongratulations to the Faegre Baker Daniels team of lawyers led by Michael Cockson. I am envious. In the civil litigator’s world, it is enviable when one has the opportunity to represent disadvantaged people against an adversary so apparently in need of a vigorous spanking.

On a side note, I found Referee Hutchison’s list of witnesses and his “credibility ratings” in his order noteworthy. Among the many witnesses who testified, the referee found witnesses “not credible,” “not particularly credible,” “credible,” “substantially credible,” “credible at times, but lack[ing] credibility at others,” “mostly credible,” “very credible,” “extremely credible,” one “mostly – but not entirely – credible,” and a few, including Mr. Frenz, of course, “substantially lack[ing] credibility.”

I have never before seen a judge’s witness-by-witness “credibility ratings.” (More common are a trial judges “factual findings,” which are tied to witness testimony or other evidence; in that context, I have many times seen a particular witness’ testimony devalued or discarded as “lacking credibility,” “thoroughly impeached,” and so on.)

Determining credibility can be extremely difficult; even so, seeing this many gradations of credibility severely tested my credulity.


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