Challenging the Government for a Small Business Owner

Categories: Client Highlights

Our client owned property that included an existing drainage ditch which emptied into a corn field.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)  thought the property owner, a housing developer in outstate Minnesota, was required to obtain a permit, build a new stormwater pond and re-route the water drainage in the area to the pond.   When the property owner refused, the MPCA issued an Administrative Penalty Order alleging stormwater regulation violations.  H&McK sued, challenging the Penalty Order.

The Court reversed the Penalty Order and awarded the individual defendant $112,000 of attorneys fees, the largest award ever granted under the Minnesota Equal Access to Justice Act (MEAJA).  After the case was decided, a firm attorney testified before the Minnesota Legislature in support of expansion of MEAJA broadening the scope of future recoveries for small businesses and their owners in cases where it can be shown the State’s case was not “substantially justified” in fact and law.

© 2013 Hessian & McKasy P.A. Disclaimers