Former Owner Awarded $900,000 in Landmark Case Against Creditor

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a jury’s decision to award former business owner, Chad Monson, over $900,000. Monson, the former owner of 71 Aggregates of New London, filed a lawsuit against his former creditor and a director of the company, Dennis Larson, and his company, MACC of Montevideo. The appeals court ruling, issued on January 8, affirms the jury’s verdict from March 2023, which ordered Larson and MACC to pay Monson $300,000 in compensatory damages and $475,000 in punitive damages.

In addition to the award, the jury also ordered Thomas Egge, another defendant in the case, to pay compensatory damages of $46,037.87 to Monson. Larson and Egge appealed the verdict, requesting a new trial or a judgment denying the district’s order for damages. However, the Court of Appeals rejected their arguments and upheld the jury’s decision.

Monson had initially claimed damages totaling at least $1.7 million in his civil lawsuit. The jury awarded him $917,038 from Larson, Egge, and two other defendants who did not join the appeal. The jury found that Larson and MACC had received property or money to which they were not entitled, while Egge breached his fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty as a company director. The jury, however, ruled “no” on the question of civil theft for all defendants.

The lawsuit stems from Monson’s allegations of “unjust enrichment” by Larson and MACC during the liquidation of 71 Aggregates while Monson was in federal prison. Larson, Egge, and the other defendants contended that Monson’s financial troubles were a result of illegal drug activities, weapon purchases, and extravagant spending.

Despite the recent ruling by the Court of Appeals, the litigation between Monson and Larson continues. Larson claims to hold a 2013 judgment of $1,590,000 against Monson’s former spouse. Monson, on the other hand, filed for bankruptcy and an application to discharge the judgment. Larson has objected to the application and is pursuing the judgment collection in Kandiyohi County through an ongoing adversary proceeding.

The decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirms the substantial award granted to Chad Monson and serves as a significant setback to Larson and MACC in their legal battle against him. The ruling maintains that the jury’s findings of unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty by the defendants are justified. The continuing litigation between Monson and Larson highlights the complex nature of business disputes and the challenges faced by former creditors seeking to collect outstanding debts.