Jason Klohs v. Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program Policy Board Set for Summary Judgment Hearing

July 5, 2011

JULY 5, 2011  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jason Klohs, a non-resident property owner in the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis NRP Policy Board are set to present cross-motions for summary judgment before the Honorable Mel I. Dickstein of the Hennepin County District Court on July 7, 2011 at 8:45 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis.

Klohs filed suit against the City of Minneapolis, the NRP and the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association in 2010 (Klohs stipulated to dismissal of his claims against the City).  The question before the Court is whether or not the NRP Policy Board’s grievance procedure is a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Specifically, a provision of the grievance procedure requires an aggrieved person to submit to binding arbitration to complete the administrative grievance process.  Because a litigant must exhaust their administrative remedies, the policy provision essentially insulates the NRP from any judicial challenge, a violation of the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and redress of grievances.

Please direct all inquiries to Ryan H. Ahlberg at rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com.

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Two African-American Former Employees Sue Rapid Recovery, Inc. For Discrimination

November 9, 2010

NOVEMBER 9, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TWO AFRICAN-AMERICAN FORMER EMPLOYEES SUE RAPID RECOVERY, INC.  FOR DISCRIMINATION.

Ahlberg Law, PLLC has filed lawsuits on behalf of two African-American former employees of Rapid Recovery, Inc., a St. Paul based towing company, for alleged violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act, amongst other claims. 

Jimmie Eatmon and Pasconnil Blakey, both employed as drivers for Rapid Recovery until their terminations, filed seperate suits in Ramsey County District Court.  (See Eatmon complaint; see Blakey complaint).  

Mr. Eatmon’s complaint alleges, among other discrimination, that he found a duffel bag of all black pornography in his locker, and that his locker was defaced when his name was crossed out and replaced by the words “black boy” and a keychain with the word “Mississippi” printed on its face.  Mr. Eatmon is originally from Mississippi. 

Mr. Blakey alleges that he suffered discriminatory reprisal when he was demoted after bringing up a uniform pricing issue with Rapid Recovery management.  Mr. Blakey also is suing for wrongful termination, in addition to the discrimination claims. 

Court ordered mediation in Mr. Eatmon’s case was unsuccessful, and the case is set for the January 24-February 7 trial block in Ramsey County District Court.  Mr. Blakey’s case has yet to proceed to mediation. 

For  more information, please contact Ryan Ahlberg at rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com.


CLARK PATRICK PHOTOGRAPHY HAS SUED MINNEAPOLIS BASED ADVERTISING AGENCY COLLE & MCVOY FOR ALLEGED FRAUDULENT USE OF IMAGERY

June 11, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Of interest to editors and journalists covering: Corporate litigation, freelance abuse, creative services, small businesses, and general business

 CLARK PATRICK PHOTOGRAPHY HAS SUED MINNEAPOLIS BASED ADVERTISING AGENCY COLLE & MCVOY FOR ALLEGED FRAUDULENT USE OF IMAGERY

 MINNNEAPOLIS, MN – June 11, 2010 / http://www.ahlberglaw.com/ —  Clark Patrick Goebel, doing business as Clark Patrick Photography, has filed suit against Colle & McVoy, Inc. & Colle McVoy, LLC in Hennepin County District Court.  The case number is 27-10-CV-13559.

 Mr. Goebel is a Twin Cities based freelance professional commercial photographer (www.clarkpatrick.com) and the founder of Unite Bike (www.unitebike.com), an organization that promotes bicycle advocacy by gathering individual cyclists for an annual large group photograph of area cycling enthusiasts.

 The lawsuit alleges that Colle & McVoy fraudulently obtained Mr. Goebel’s consent to use one of the Unite Bike photographs on another website.  Mr. Goebel alleges he was contacted by Colle & McVoy, who asked for permission to use the photo for a pro bono project.  Mr. Goebel later learned that the Colle & McVoy project was not, in fact, pro bono, and that Colle & McVoy received compensation for the project.  Despite due demand, Colle & McVoy has failed to disclose the amount of compensation it received or offer compensation to Mr. Goebel for the use of his image.

 Mr. Goebel states, “Large advertising agencies often try to get as much from their smaller vendor partners as possible, but in this case I felt there were a number of issues that required me to take legal action against Colle & McVoy.  Freelance creative producers are often unable or unwilling to defend themselves because they are fearful it could cost them future business or cannot afford costly legal fees associated with lawsuits, but I needed to defend myself and I hope this type of issue won’t happen again to other creative freelance producers in town.”  He also said, “It is particularly disappointing this type of thing would happen with my Unite Bike project since at its core it is all about promoting a positive community activity.”

 For more information about this lawsuit, please contact Mr. Goebel’s attorney Ryan Ahlberg, at 612-373-7081.  Mr. Goebel is available for limited comment on this suit at 763-439-8922 or via e-mail at revolution@clarkpatrick.com

 Media contact:

Ryan Ahlberg

rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com

Phone: 612.373.7081


City of Minneapolis Denies Jason Klohs Grievance Remedies

April 30, 2010

APRIL 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS NRP DENIES JASON KLOHS GRIEVANCE REMEDIES; CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS PROCESSING CITIZEN PARTICIPATION GRIEVANCE.

Jason Klohs (“Mr. Klohs”), a non-resident property owner within the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood has been denied grievance remedies under the City of Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Revitalization Program (“NRP”) for failing to waive his constitutional rights, among other remedies.  Mr. Klohs initiated grievances with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (“MHNA”) in July, 2009 that have not been resolved. 

In a letter dated April 14, 2010, Robert D. Miller, the director of Minneapolis’ NRP, stated “The NRP Grievance Procedure clearly requires all parties to consent to be bound by the decision reached as a result of the identified process, and is therefore, in the nature of mandatory arbitration.” 

In his request to initiate grievance proceedings, Mr. Klohs specifically refused to waive any future remedies, rights, or causes of action should he find the NRP decision unacceptable or contrary to the laws of the State of Minnesota and/or the United States. 

Mr. Klohs’ attorney, Ryan H. Ahlberg, and Ahlberg Law, PLLC are investigating whether or not a municipality or government entity may require waiver of constitutional or other rights to participate in an established administrative remedy. 

In Mr. Klohs’ related grievance regarding the City’s Citizen Participation Program requirements, The City is processing the grievance pursuant to policy and a decision is expected within the next 30 days. 

Further questions regarding this matter can be directed to Ryan H. Ahlberg, 612-373-7081 or rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com.


Former Driver Sues Rapid Recovery, Inc. Alleging Human Rights Violations

March 1, 2010

MARCH 1, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TOW-TRUCK DRIVER SUES RAPID RECOVERY, INC. IN RAMSEY COUNTY DISTRICT COURT ALLEGING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

Jimmie Eatmon (“Mr. Eatmon”), an African-American and former employee of Rapid Recovery, Inc. (“Rapid Recovery”) has sued in Ramsey County District Court, alleging he suffered from a hostile work environment, was discriminated against, and was fired because of his race.

Mr. Eatmon’s attorney, Ryan H. Ahlberg, filed the lawsuit in December after Mr. Eatmon withdrew his charge filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to exercise his right to file a private lawsuit.

Mr. Eatmon, who worked as a tow truck driver for Rapid Recovery for a little over a year, was terminated in late February, 2009.  Further questions regarding the case can be directed to Ryan H. Ahlberg, 612-373-7081 or rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com.


Jason Klohs Sues MHNA Over Data

November 19, 2009

NOVEMBER 19, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AHLBERG LAW, PLLC, ON BEHALF OF ITS CLIENT, JASON KLOHS, HAS SUED MARCY-HOLMES NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION FOR VIOLATION OF THE MINNESOTA GOVERNMENT DATA PRACTICES ACT. 

After waiting six weeks to receive a response from Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (“MHNA”) to a data practices request, Jason Klohs (“Mr. Klohs”) has sued MHNA for violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and requested declaratory, injunctive, and other relief. 

Mr. Klohs, who is embroiled in a grievance with MHNA over its membership policy, use of government funds, and other issues, submitted a data request on October 5, 2009.  The request sought data related to MHNA activities under an NRP contract MHNA entered into with the City of Minneapolis.  MHNA explained that it sought assistance from outside counsel on October 26, 2009 but has yet to respond, despite demand.

After significant research, we believe the law is clear that a private non-profit corporation contracting with a government entity, such as the City of Minneapolis, must comply with the provisions of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13, which is commonly known as the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.  Compliance is required when the government entity contracts with the private entity, as Minneapolis did with MHNA. 

The request is important for Mr. Klohs and his ongoing grievance because the data requested has never been in the possession of the City.  We feel that because MHNA uses NRP and other government funds for activities and programs, the law subjects the data created by those activities and programs to the public data law of the State. 

For the moment, Mr. Klohs’ grievances are on hold, but more information will be available as the data issue progresses over the next few weeks.


Jason Klohs Exhausts Neighborhood Level Remedies In Grievance Against MHNA

October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JASON KLOHS EXHAUSTS NEIGHBORHOOD LEVEL REMEDIES IN GRIEVANCE AGAINST MARCY HOLMES NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, WILL ELEVATE GRIEVANCE TO THE NRP POLICY BOARD AND CPED CITIZEN PARTICIPATION PROGRAM.

Jason Klohs (“Mr. Klohs”), a non-resident property owner within the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood and representatives of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (“MHNA”) failed to resolve a formal grievance filed by Mr. Klohs against MHNA in a mediation session conducted Tuesday night. 

Mr. Klohs’ attorney, Ryan H. Ahlberg, filed a formal grievance with MHNA on July 9, 2009.  The grievance alleges that MHNA’s discriminatory bylaws and exclusionary practices effectively remove non-resident property owners from the process of neighborhood governance and that MHNA’s violations of various City of Minneapolis citizen participation requirements restrict and remove non-resident property owners from participation and representation under various City of Minneapolis’ programs. 

The grievance also alleges that MHNA activities funded by public money violate the specific authorizing statutes and ordinances providing for such public expenditures.  Data collected on City of Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Revitalization Program (“NRP”) funding to MHNA indicates that MHNA received $163,642.00 from late 2005 to the present and all of the money was spent on MHNA’s employees and operating expenses.  The grievance argues the statutes and ordinances authorizing the NRP do not allow this type of expenditure.  

Mr. Klohs has grown tired of constantly fighting MHNA on land-use and other regulatory issues.  Because of the power and money accorded to MHNA and similar neighborhood organizations by the City of Minneapolis and the University District Alliance, Mr. Klohs is no longer willing to tolerate unequal treatment because he is a non-resident property owner. 

The mediation session was conducted under the MHNA grievance policy.  Because there was no resolution, any opportunity to resolve the matter at the neighborhood level has been exhausted.  Ahlberg Law, PLLC will continue to assist Mr. Klohs through the administrative grievance process.  If there is no administrative resolution, a lawsuit against MHNA is highly probable. 

Further questions regarding this matter can be directed to Ryan H. Ahlberg, 612-373-7081 or rahlberg@ahlberglaw.com.