Janesville63.1°

Defendants want claims dismissed in lawsuit

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Kayla Bunge
August 7, 2010
— Some recently added defendants to the $29 million federal lawsuit filed against the city by a New York-based developer have filed a motion to have the claims against them dismissed.

Mirbeau of Geneva Lake along with Illinois developer Robert Hummel in 2007 proposed a plan for a hotel, winery and homes on a 718-acre property on the city’s south side.


Mirbeau in a recent update to its lawsuit against the city accused some city officials and members of opposition groups, including a group that wanted to buy the property, of conspiring against the developer and interfering with a contract between the two developers.


The two developers are seeking a total of almost $400 million in damages from the city.


Lower Density Development manager Tom Muenster and Linn Township resident Dick Malmin on Friday filed motions to have the claims against them dismissed.


Muenster and Malmin argue that Mirbeau failed to make allegations of race- or class-based discrimination against them but rather relied on its membership in a “class of one.” They cite cases in which courts have ruled that a “class of one” is not a protected class under the equal protection law.


Malmin also argues that Mirbeau failed to describe his involvement in the alleged conspiracy. He states that Mirbeau in its amended complaint only discussed the actions of local officials and did not mention “a single conversation, meeting, correspondence or other form of contact” between him and the city officials.


Muenster and Malmin argue that Mirbeau filed its action against them after the statute of limitations expired. They cite a state statute in which the statute of limitations is two years for filing intentional tort claims. They say the contract between Mirbeau and Hummel expired in April 2008 and that Mirbeau filed its amended complaint in July—more than two months after the deadline.


Muenster also argues that Mirbeau alleged he participated in activity that simply is part of “the political process” and is privileged and cannot be considered interference with a contract.



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