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Court case with Brinkman, DSU Foundation to be kept public

All documents filed through and proceedings argued in district court relating to Brinkman Investments LLC vs. Dickinson Investments LLC will be open to the public, Southwest District Court Judge William Herauf ruled Monday.

“I’m going to go with the policy of the Supreme Court to keep it open,” Herauf said.

However, much of the matter between the two parties is set to be handled in arbitration, a legal process outside of the court system, which would keep any records confidential per the plaintiffs’ requests, Herauf said.

The defendants in the case filed a motion in January to have any court proceedings be sealed in the matter, claiming that the plaintiffs’ only reason for going to court was to make public matters that should remain private, according to court documents.

“This is North Dakota District Court. It’s an open forum,” Herauf said. “Once it’s here, it’s here.”

Brinkman Investments, along with Hawk’s Landing I LLC, New Care Health Care of North Dakota LLC, New Care Management LLC and Granville Brinkman, filed suit against Dickinson Investments LLC, the Dickinson State University Foundation, Signal Butte LLC, PKPND LLC, Southwest Business Machines, Gail Ebeltoft and Arikota, LLP for allegedly removing Brinkman as a managing member of Dickinson Investments LLC — which created Hawks Point — without ample warning or due cause.

This violates the contract, Brinkman alleges in the suit.

Monday’s proceedings were concerning the sealing of the documents and proceedings in Southwest District Court, but Herauf was concerned this step was unnecessary because much of the case was to be decided through arbitration.

“Anything that comes from arbitration, though, is going to be confidential,” Herauf said. “It seems like we’re trying to approach this backwards because we don’t know whether or not anything is going to go into arbitration.”

Mediation, another form of out-of-court conflict resolution, was originally used in an attempt solve the issue but failed, which let to arbitration.

“It addresses every issue, I believe, with the exception of a complaint regarding specific performance quality agreements,” said Seth Nielsen, counsel for the plaintiffs.

Because much of the case was scheduled to be resolved outside of the court system, Herauf found it redundant to seal the proceedings.

“We don’t have this case scheduled for trial, we don’t have the discovery done, so we’re a long ways from that,” Herauf said.

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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