County District Court File No. 27-CV-14-7349
in part, reversed in part, and remanded
William R. Skolnick, Andrew H. Bardwell, Skolnick &
Joyce, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
Randall Tigue, Randall Tigue Law Office, P.A., Fridley,
Minnesota (for respondents)
Considered and decided by Jesson, Presiding Judge; Stauber,
Judge; and Reyes, Judge.
procedural requirements of Minnesota's anti-SLAPP
statute, Minn. Stat. § 554.02 (2014), violate the
non-moving party's constitutional right to a jury trial
by requiring a court to make a pretrial factual determination
that the non-moving party has produced clear and convincing
evidence to support his claim.
Minn. Stat. § 148.103, subd. 1 (2014), provides immunity
for the act of reporting a licensee's or a potential
licensee's misconduct to the Minnesota Board of
Chiropractic Examiners, but this immunity does not apply to
the act of disclosing this same information to others.
person pursuing a private attorney-general claim under Minn.
Stat. §§ 325F.69, subd. 1; 8.31, subds. 1, 3a
(2014), must demonstrate that the cause of action benefits
challenges the district court's order dismissing its
claims as barred by the anti-SLAPP statute, Minn. Stat.
§§ 554.01-.05 (2014), and Minn. Stat. §
148.103, subd. 1, which provides immunity to persons filing
complaints with the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic
Examiners. By notice of related appeal, respondent challenges
the dismissal of its claim under the Minnesota Consumer Fraud
Act, Minn. Stat. § 325F.69 (2014). We affirm in part,
reverse in part, and remand to the district court for further
Mobile Diagnostic Imaging, Inc. (MDI) provided mobile
magnetic-resonance-imaging (MRI) services to chiropractors
until October 2013. MDI is wholly owned by Michael Appleman,
who is not a licensed chiropractor. Respondent Stand-Up
MidAmerica MRI, P.A. (SUMA) also provides MRI services. It is
owned by respondent Wayne Dahl, a licensed chiropractor. MDI
and SUMA competed for patient referrals from chiropractors.
Respondent Rachael Hooten was formerly employed by MDI as a
clinic manager, but was later hired by SUMA for the same
entered into contracts with chiropractors to provide MRI
services at or near individual offices. MDI used "lease
agreements, " which ostensibly paid a chiropractor for
use of space in a parking lot, office supplies, telephone
services, internet connections, and employee services. MDI
employed technicians to operate the MRI machines and
contracted with radiologists to review and interpret the MRI
had been opposed to MDI's business practices since 2003.
Appleman had approached Dahl in 2003 and offered to pay him
$200 for every patient Dahl referred for an MRI. Dahl
rejected this offer as unethical. Dahl opened SUMA the next
year and when chiropractors continued to use MDI, Dahl
concluded that they were receiving "kickbacks" from
MDI. Dahl posted a copy of a sample MDI lease agreement on
his website, and described it as illegal. In 2008, Dahl
complained to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office
about MDI, but the attorney general did not initiate charges.
In 2010, Dahl spoke to several chiropractors, seeking to
discourage them from using MDI's services.
2011, Hooten entered into a one-year employment contract with
MDI; the contract included confidentiality and non-compete
provisions. In November 2011, Hooten resigned from the
position, stating that she had accepted another job. Hooten
did not disclose that her new job was with SUMA. When Hooten
left MDI, she took her personnel file, including all the
original documents, and copies of MDI's lease agreements,
customer lists, contact lists, policies, and ...