• November 15, 2013

Cat and MouseI am not sure I have the patience and tenacity of William Rydrych of Eagan, Minnesota.  In 2006, Mr. Rydrych first sued Twin Cities’ attorney, Scott Strouts, and Rydrych won a judgment against Mr. Strouts, who, at the time, was sole shareholder of GK Cab Co., Inc. and Spike Holding Corp., Inc. (two cab companies) (holding 3,000 shares in each).

To execute on the judgment that he had won (that is, to get MONEY), Rydrych levied on Strouts’ stock in the two cab companies that Strouts owned.  Two days before the sheriff’s sale on the corporate shares, however, GK Cab and Spike (i.e., Strouts?) each issued 20,000 new shares, purchased by Blue & White Service Corp. of Minnesota (i.e., Strouts?), which appointed Strouts as its representative and proxy.  So Rydych became the owner of 3,000 shares in two cab companies but, Strouts, his wily adversary, appears to have kept control (and then some) by diluting the shares and having control over both entities with 20,000 shares each.

Sylvester the CatCurses!

One can almost smell the acrid fumes of Mr. Rydrych’s fury at Strouts’ escape.

Then, Rydrych headed back to Court to get that pesky varmint a second time.  The second case was thrown out on various grounds.

Then, Rydych, undeterred, clawed his way back into court a third time. And that was thrown out by Hennepin County District Court Judge Susan M. Robiner.  She probably thought, “Enough is enough.” In legalese, this is translated “res judicata.”

Wily Coyote BurntAnd it is at this point in our story where the Minnesota Court of Appeals, this week, came to Mr. Rydrych’s rescue, reversing the dismissal of Mr. Rydych’s case by the Hennepin County District Court (in part).

So, congratulations are in order for the tenacious pro se litigant, Mr. Rydrych (or consoling words to Mr. Strouts?).  It remains to be seen, of course, whether Mr. Rydrych’s fourth trip to the district court will be the charm or whether it will simply prolong his seemingly endless effort.

(Post-script: Over the past year, a few Minnesota Litigator posts have questioned from time to time whether there might be a change in U.S. corporate law in decades to come.  It sometimes seems that the corporate form may be too amenable to “over-insulating” tortfeasors or other wrong-doers from liability — that its purpose to incentivize investment by allowing investors to cap their risk might need some counter-balance weightier than corporate veil-piercing, which the law already allows for in limited contexts.  It is beyond my expertise to know the latest scholarship or legislative efforts (if any) to prevent the use of corporate forms to avoid an active wrong-doer’s personal responsibility for his business’ wrong-doing but that does not stop me from wondering.)

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