The court declined, but the question of a violation of Minnesota Environmental Rights Act was not resolved. It’s in litigation, but the Redmonds have a solid laches defense, said their lawyer, William Skolnick.
A garage door is also at issue. The homeowners share a driveway into the lots. Redmond owns land across the driveway where he built (with city approval) a garage into the side of a hill. The neighbors think the garage is also too big and the door is too unattractive. One neighbor said in a deposition that she cries every time she sees the garage door.
Because it involves family homes, the dispute bears a passing resemblance to one of Skolnick’s areas of practice, which is post-divorce fraud cases emanating from lies told during the dissolution process.
There are some things people getting a divorce should not do: lie about their income, even when they’ve been lying about it throughout the marriage; lie about the value of a company they own; and, after lying about the company, sell it and have a newspaper report the price that is about five times the amount they represented to their spouses.
Skolnick demonstrated that the husband had committed a fraud upon the court and brought an independent action for damages after the divorce, including the husband’s law firm.
That case was followed by a case involving The Tile Shop. A year after the divorce, the ex-wife received a letter from an employee telling her she had been cheated. The ex-wife sued not only her husband but also her husband’s lawyer. That case settled.
Those cases were successful because of in-depth discovery, Skolnick said. He advocates direct communication with witnesses. “How can you not have that conversation?”