More Jerry Moore vs. John Hoff (Johnny Northside) Updates

Here are a few updates on things that have happened since the jury decided that John Hoff didn’t lie about Jerry Moore, but had to pay him $60,000 anyway.

Hoff threw a half victory party at Good Sports Bar. People affiliated with North Minneapolis revitalization, community organization financial transparency, and free speech showed up to show their support for John.

Hoff’s lawyer also filled a Motion For Judgment as a Matter of Law. As I loosely understand it, this is a way to wipe out the verdict by arguing that the jury made a poor decision (or, a decision based on poor instructions?). Something like that.

Terry Yzaguirre at the Minneapolis Mirror reported that the Minnesota Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has filed a motion (pdf) to participate as amicus curiae in this case. If writing the truth about people can cost you a year’s salary, we have a problem. The MN SPJ is represented by lawyers with Faegre & Benson.

Terry Yzaguirre also published an interesting perspective on why the jury may have come to the conclusion they did: The jury instructions (pdf) may have been a bit off.

In order to understand what was at issue, it’s important to understand what was contained in the Jury’s instruction and how it came into being. These instructions are the guidelines to be used by the jury upon which to base their collective decision. In spite of Judge Riley’s order to the attorneys in the case to produce jury instruction prior to the trial, Defense attorney Godfread failed to comply before the appointed time.

How a question is framed can make a BIG difference. In this case, it looks like the questions to the jury were framed by the plaintiff’s attorney, Jill Clark, without any counterbalance from Hoff’s attorney. Heck, even JHG – in the comments at the Minneapolis Mirror – seems to be conceding that Hoff was out lawyered.

#1 JHG 2011-03-24 20:12
The important part of the doc starts on the last half of page 10 through the end.

This case was won before it started because the Defendant did not attempt to oppose the jury instructions as laid out by the more experienced legal team.

Oh well, the overwhelmed Defendant screwed up ….and that is that.

One thing that I can’t figure out is why hasn’t Jerry Moore sued CityPages? CityPages surely has deeper pockets than John Hoff. And it sure seems like CityPages did something similar to what Hoff did when they reported in an August 18, 2010 cover story “Jerry Moore has a controversial past” (This piece is really great background on the guy that sued John Hoff):

In Spring 2008, [Jerry] Moore applied for a grant from the American Cancer Society on behalf of JACC. Called “Let’s Talk About,” the money was intended to raise awareness of prostate cancer among black men. The research non-profit was impressed with Moore’s pitch. In April, it cut the council a check for $10,000.

Moore seems to have treated the cancer awareness grant like a personal piggy bank. One night in late September, Moore charged $22.75 at 11:21 p.m. at Gabby’s Saloon and Eatery in northeast Minneapolis. Moore wrote the charge off as a “Prostate screening.” That same night, less than an hour before bar close, Moore charged another $24.20 at Gabby’s—another late-night prostate screening at the bar. Two hours later, Moore charged a $14.59 bill for an order of mini chimichangas, a club turkey deluxe sandwich, and a cup of hot tea at a Perkins in Eagan.

Stealing from the American Cancer Society? That’s low. Sadly, the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) Board of the time was letting Moore get away with crap like that, which was one of the reasons the board was overtaken by true revitalizers.

The day after that story was published, CityPages reported that “Jerry Moore no longer works for Wells Fargo”. It seems like every time someone reports the truth about Jerry Moore, Jerry Moore loses the job he has at the time. Why hasn’t Moore sued CityPages? Heck, they even have anonymous anti-Moore comments:

Shed Light on These Crimes! 7 months ago
Kudos for City Pages and Andy Mannix for having the courage to print this article and shed light on the ugly subject of Jerry Moore, Ientity Theft, and Mortgage Fraud. Hopefully Wells Fargo will revise their hiring criteria.

Andy Mannix even stopped by the Wells Fargo branch where Moore was working and included the awkward exchange he had with Moore in his story:

“I’m Andy Mannix with City Pages,” I say.

His smile fades and he starts tiptoeing backward. “Sorry, I’m with a class right now,” he says, moving away faster.

“I’ve left you quite a few messages,” I say, “I need to talk to you.” I pull a business card out of my pocket and try to hand it to him. “Can we talk later?”

Moore looks at the card as if I’m offering him a live grenade. “Sorry,” he says, putting his hands up in the air defensively. He continues to back away, and turns around and heads for cover.

Yet Mannix or CityPages haven’t been sued by Moore? So strange.

5 thoughts on “More Jerry Moore vs. John Hoff (Johnny Northside) Updates”

  1. No. 14.15, p.10 of jury instructions is a “preponderance” instruction, more likely than not.

    There should have been a clear and convincing evidence instruction, on defamation against a public figure in a publication; and on the interference claim, since Minn. Stat. Sect. 554.03 creates an immunity and requires a plaintiff to show clear and convincing evidence when the action complained against is public participation, speech or action genuinely aimed at procuring a favorable government action. The U. is a govenrment body. UROC, part of the U., ditto. Firing Jerry Moore, in the defendant’s true good faith opinion, was a favorable government result, and Hoff genuinely aimed at that result with his speech, as well as aiming his speech at the general personnel deficiencies he percieved at UROC, including but not limited to Jerry Moore.

    It should have been a clear and convincing standard, and it was prejucicial error to Hoff that it was not; and waiver arguments should not matter – this is so fundamental a thing that Hoff did not get a fair trial.

    Either a new trial, or JNOV, the motion you talk of, judgment as a matter of law, would be the remedy Hoff should receive.

    Of course Jill Clark will argue that objection to instructions was waived, if that instruction went to the jury w/o Godfread protecting the record with an objection.

    That entire game, deemed waiver, protecting the record, is why litigation sucks. BS rules designed to defeat justice, evolved over time, by judges wanting finality over justice.

    PS. That last paragraph is opinion. How it is and how it should be seldom coincide.

    Your report is good, showing Brunhilde has not sung the final aria yet, as Yogi Berra described things not ending until they end.

  2. Ed, in your thinking, Wells Fargo, it’s a private-sector for profit business, and City Pages “interfered” there.

    UROC is the government. Every citizen has a divine right to criticize the government and try to make it better. They’re going beyond critical words to reform government now in North Africa.

    So, am I making a technical distinction without a practical difference? Or is it a substantial distinction?

    It seems to me that unless Moore and Clark are harboring a kind of special grudge for Hoff, it would make more sense to go after City Pages. A deeper pocket, a private sector dismissal, a question of whether big-bank employment manual steps were followed; all that regular stuff that does not fit UROC – those people probably don’t have a personnel manual, or a personnel policy, and likely never dreamed or thought that it might be proper for them to operate with such organizational principles in mind.

    Or am I wrong? Ed, other readers, yes/no??

    Wouldn’t the logical target, absent some special malice toward John Hoff, be City Pages?

  3. Or sue UROC, if there’s any grounds to claim the dismissal was improper. They made the termination DECISION. Hoff did not make that decision for them.

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