Attorney Katherine Fossey Wins on Summary Judgment Motion

Attorney Kate Fossey has won her summary judgment motion in a defamation and slander case venued in Crow Wing County District Court. The case involved a claim by a Twin Cities author/lecturer on child sexual abuse and bullying who claimed that a Deerwood hotel clerk defamed him after he stayed with a group of teenagers at the hotel she managed. None of the children were supervised by their parents during the stay, and after Plaintiff allowed them to horse around in the pool area, Plaintiff had taken the group to his room until well after 3:00 a.m. Despite the late hour, Plaintiff allowed some of the teenagers to leave in their own vehicle, unaccompanied, despite the fact that it was so late and after curfew. When Plaintiff returned for a similar stay about 4 months later, the hotel clerk contacted the local police department to understand what her responsibilities were for unaccompanied minors. The police investigated the matter and contacted the children’s parents to determine if they knew where their children would be. Shortly after that, Plaintiff had an argument with one of the children’s fathers about how alcohol he had purchased wound up in his daughter’s hands at his ex wife’s house along with his other two minor sons and a few other friends. The father reported Plaintiff to the police and the police then began to investigate Plaintiff a second time. Plaintiff filed a defamation suit against the hotel clerk alleging that her original police report had caused others to believe that he was a sexual predator. The hotel clerk denied making any statement that he was a sexual predator. Attorney Fossey argued that the hotel clerk made the police report in good faith and that in doing so, she was entitled to a qualified privilege under the First Amendment that protected her statements. The Court agreed and dismissed the Plaintiff’s case.