Category Legal Developments

UPDATE: Court hearing scheduled for sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

UPDATE (1:30 PM, Friday, September 7, 2018) – Monday’s court hearing in Ramsey County about Michelle MacDonald’s lawsuit has been canceled. A new court date has not been scheduled, but it will likely be in October or November.

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( July 24, 2018) – A court hearing has been scheduled in Ramsey County for September 10, 2018, about the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald for filing the same “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit in two counties.

Nathan M. Hansen served MacDonald a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions on June 26, 2018, in response to the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit from MacDonald.

MacDonald was given 21 days to withdraw the lawsuit “with prejudice” or the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions would be filed with the court. Since the lawsuit was not dismissed “with prejudice” within 21 days, Hansen filed the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions against MacDonald in Ramsey County.

As detailed by Hansen in his memorandum, he spoke with MacDonald and she declined to dismiss the duplicate lawsuit filed in Ramsey County.

MacDonald is also facing sanctions in Dakota County, and she recently retained a new attorney. Continue reading

UPDATE: Dede Evavold released from jail…for now

UPDATE (4:05 PM, Tuesday, September 4, 2018) – Tomorrow’s court hearing has been canceled. It will be rescheduled for after Dede Evavold’s upcoming criminal trial on October 15, 2018, for violations of an HRO granted to protect David Rucki and his family from Evavold’s harassment.

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UPDATE (9:31 AM, Tuesday, September 4, 2018) – Dede Evavold is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow where a determination will be made if she has violated the conditions of her probation. The hearing was originally scheduled for June 6, 2018. The hearing is scheduled for 9 AM at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

The post below from March has been update to reflect this change.

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( March 21, 2018) – Dede Evavold walked out of the Dakota County Jail this evening after Judge Kathleen Gearin permitted Evavold to be released from jail to remove the remaining online material about David Rucki, his children, and other members of the Rucki family published by Evavold which violates an Harassment Restraining Order.

Evavold has been in jail since Sunday after being arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Judge Gearin gave Evavold until Monday, March 26, 2018, at 4:30 PM to remove the remaining content or she is ordered to report to jail in Dakota County by 9 AM on March 27.

During today’s court hearing Lisa Elliott, the attorney for the Rucki family, agreed with comments made by Dede Evavold’s husband Darin that most of the content had been removed, but a small amount remains posted.

Darin Evavold brought Dede’s laptop computer to today’s court hearing, as he did for yesterday’s court hearing for his wife.

At the court hearing, Darin worked with Allison Mann, a paralegal from Elliott Law Offices to remove the additional content.

“We just want Ms. Evavold to stop harassing the [Rucki family],” said Elliott during today’s hearing.

Dede Evavold was present in the courtroom and she did not object while Darin worked with Mann to identify content that needed to be removed.

All parties agreed that Darin and Dede Evavold would stay in communication with Elliott’s office over the coming days to ensure Dede is in full compliance with the court’s order before Monday’s deadline.

Over the last two days, Darin Evavold has appeared visibly frustrated in court as he worked to remove the vast amount of online content published by his wife which landed her in jail.

This is why Elliott and Mann assisted Darin Evavold in removing the content, explained Mann.

“I have been monitoring the removal of content from Ms. Evavold’s blog and other social media accounts over the last two weeks,” said Allison Mann.

“At the start of today’s hearing, some of the content remained available online,” said Mann, who added, “Darin Evavold came to court today with his wife’s laptop so that he could delete anything that was left.”

Mann concluded, “our main goal has been and continues to be to stop the harassment of the Rucki family.” Continue reading

Restraining orders granted for distributing photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s family

A judge in Dakota County granted an Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) today against three people, including Dede Evavold, for their roles in surreptitiously obtaining and later distributing a photograph of Michael Brodkorb’s wife and minor children online.

The HROs were filed by Michael Brodkorb and Sarah Brodkorb in Dakota County against Diane Ristau of Medford, Carrie Beaudette of St. Joseph, and Dede Evavold of St. Cloud.

The photograph of Ms. Brodkorb with her minor children was distributed multiple times with false allegations on a social media account connected to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her supporters.

The same social media account had been investigated by law enforcement for publishing threatening, harassing, and defamatory statements targeting judges, law enforcement, court staff, and journalists.

The HROs remain in effect until August 30, 2020.  Continue reading

Minnesota Lawyer: Michelle MacDonald’s lawsuit ‘may lack factual basis’

The lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota “may lack factual basis” according to an article published by Minnesota Lawyer.

Two of three key claims in lawyer Michelle MacDonald’s defamation lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and his muckraking website appear unfounded, Minnesota Lawyer has learned.

Meanwhile Brodkorb, who accuses MacDonald of trying to squelch his First Amendment rights as a journalist, asserts that a third allegation in her suit also is factually inaccurate. Minnesota Lawyer could not independently verify that.

The article by Minnesota Lawyer exposes fundamental weaknesses in MacDonald’s lawsuit, which has been described as “frivolous and vexatious” by Nathan Hansen, the attorney for Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. Continue reading

Dakota county judge dismisses lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald

Yesterday, a judge in Dakota County dismissed the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit filed by Michelle MacDonald against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota. The court did not rule on a request for sanctions against MacDonald based on her conduct since the filing of the lawsuit. MacDonald also filed her lawsuit in Ramsey County and a hearing is scheduled for next month regarding sanctions against MacDonald.

MacDonald’s lawsuit filed in Ramsey County against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota remains active.

Last week, we published a story about the hearing held in Dakota County about MacDonald’s lawsuit.

MacDonald’s attorney Karlowba R. Adams Powell made numerous false statements in court last week and seemed unfamiliar with the messy procedural history created by MacDonald’s lawsuit. Adams Powell falsely claimed our attorney, Nathan Hansen filed duplicative pleadings in Dakota and Ramsey County. She also claimed Hansen was “harassing” MacDonald and accused him of “unprofessional conduct.”

Hansen corrected Adams Powell on her inaccurate statements in court.

Adams Powell is also facing possible sanctions for filing the same lawsuit in both Dakota and Ramsey County. A hearing has not been scheduled yet on the request for sanctions against Adams Powell.

Please follow Missing in Minnesota on Twitter and Facebook for updates on MacDonald’s lawsuit.

Allison Mann contributed to this story.

Court hearing held on sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

Judge Karen Asphaug heard arguments in a Dakota County courtroom today regarding the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald in response to her lawsuit against me and Missing in Minnesota. Judge Asphaug said she would be making a decision before our hearing on September 10 in Ramsey County regarding sanctions against MacDonald.

MacDonald’s attorney Karlowba R. Adams Powell made numerous false statements in court today and seemed unfamiliar with the messy procedural history created by MacDonald’s lawsuit. Adams Powell falsely claimed our attorney, Nathan Hansen filed duplicative pleadings in Dakota and Ramsey County. She also claimed Hansen was “harassing” MacDonald and accused him of “unprofessional conduct.”

Hansen corrected Adams Powell on her inaccurate statements in court.

MacDonald declines to answer questions about her representation of Grazzini-Rucki

After the hearing, and in the presence of both our attorney and MacDonald’s attorney, I asked MacDonald a few questions in the front lobby of the Dakota County Judicial Center. Multiple deputies with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office we present during our brief exchange. Ten days ago, I wrote on Twitter that I planned on asking MacDonald questions at the courthouse about the disappearance of the Rucki sisters. We were scheduled to interview MacDonald last November, but she abruptly canceled and refused to reschedule the interview. Continue reading

UPDATE: Court hearing scheduled for sanctions against Michelle MacDonald

UPDATE (1:00 PM, Wednesday, August 15, 2018) – Larry Frost is no longer serving as Michelle MacDonald’s supervising attorney involving her lawsuit. Tomorrow’s hearing will focus on sanctions against Michelle MacDonald. This post has been updated to reflect this change.

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A court hearing has been scheduled in Dakota County for August 9, 2018, about the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions filed against Michelle MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry Frost, in response to MacDonald’s lawsuit.

Nathan M. Hansen served MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry A, Frost, a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions on June 18, 2018, in response to the “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit from MacDonald.

MacDonald and Frost were given 21 days to withdraw the lawsuit “with prejudice” or the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions would be filed with the court. Since the lawsuit was not dismissed “with prejudice” within 21 days, Hansen filed the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions against MacDonald and Frost yesterday.

Continue reading

Judge calls Evavold’s harassment of Rucki family ‘evil’

A judge in Dakota County has upheld the Harassment Restraining Order requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Dede Evavold, describing Evavold’s threatening behavior toward the Rucki family as “evil.”

“In the 34+ years the undersigned has served as a District or Senior Judge, never have I seen a case that represents harassment most evil,” wrote Judge Philip Kanning in his order released yesterday. “The Respondent’s actions have been intended to terrify, threaten and invade the privacy of the Petitioner and his minor children,” adding Judge Kanning.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of Samantha Rucki and her sister Gianna, who were abducted near their home on Lakeville by their mother Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, during a custody and divorce proceeding.

On July 28, 2017, a court in Dakota County has found that “an immediate and present danger of harassment” by Evavold exists to warrant the granting of a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) requested by David Rucki and his daughter, Samantha Rucki, against Evavold

In the last year, Evavold has repeatedly violated the explicit terms of her probation and the HRO by continuing to reference the Rucki family in her use of social media. Evavold’s blog has posted pictures of the Rucki family, their home in Lakeville, and the address to the home, in violation of the HRO and the conditions of her probation. Continue reading

Motion for sanctions served on MacDonald’s new attorney

Karlowba R. Adams Powell, Michelle MacDonald’s new attorney, was served with a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions today for filing MacDonald’s lawsuit against Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota a third time.

Nathan M. Hansen (above left), served Powell with a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions this afternoon in response to Powell filing the same lawsuit yesterday that was previously filed by MacDonald in both Dakota and Ramsey counties.

Powell has been given 21 days to withdraw the lawsuit “with prejudice” or the Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions will be filed with the court.

Hansen wrote in the memorandum that he served on Powell, that “…Powell has knowingly filed the exact same Complaint in Ramsey County that she is well aware is also pending in Dakota County, it is for this reason she should face sanction under Minn. R. Civ. P. 11.”

Two court hearings – one in Dakota County and another in Ramsey County – have been scheduled about the previous Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions that have been filed against MacDonald. Continue reading

Facing sanctions and lawyers board investigation, MacDonald hires new attorney

Facing sanctions and an investigation by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, Michelle MacDonald has retained a new attorney.

A Certificate of Representation for Karlowba R. Adams Powell (pictured above left via Twitter profile) to represent Michelle MacDonald was filed last Friday in Ramsey County.

According to public records, Ms. Powell law license was suspended last year for 45 days. As with MacDonald, Ms. Powell is currently on probation for 2 years.

It is unclear at this time what role Ms. Powell will have in MacDonald’s legal defense.  Continue reading

Michelle MacDonald being investigated by lawyers board

Michelle MacDonald is being investigated by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility for alleged violations of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct governing licensed attorneys.

The investigation into the alleged violations by MacDonald was opened after Missing in Minnesota filed a formal complaint with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility last week after MacDonald filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit against Missing in Minnesota, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law.

The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility confirmed today in a letter that an investigation had been started based on the complaint filed by Missing in Minnesota which alleges numerous violations by MacDonald.

The filing of the complaint is permitted by the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, as Missing in Minnesota is a defendant in a lawsuit filed by MacDonald. Continue reading

UPDATE – Attorney: MacDonald’s lawsuit is ‘frivolous and vexatious’

UPDATE (8:15 AM, Tuesday, June 26, 2018) – Michelle MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry Frost, were served a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions in Ramsey County for filing the same “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit in two counties. Last week, Michelle MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry Frost, were served with a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions in Dakota County.

As detailed by our attorney Nathan Hansen in his memorandum, he spoke with MacDonald and she declined to dismiss the duplicate lawsuit filed in Ramsey County. MacDonald’s supervising attorney, Larry Frost, has not responded to our attorney’s communications.

Allison Mann explained last night on Twitter, that it is not proper to file the same lawsuit in two counties. There are now two clocks running on MacDonald to dismiss the suit. Each Rule 11 Motion (Dakota and Ramsey) started a separate 21-day deadline.

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Michelle MacDonald has filed a “frivolous and vexatious” lawsuit, which appears to be in violation of an Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court which details the conditions by which MacDonald is allowed to practice law, according to an attorney for Missing in Minnesota and Michael Brodkorb.

Nathan M. Hansen (above left), served MacDonald and her supervising attorney, Larry A, Frost, a Rule 11 Motion for Sanctions this afternoon in response to MacDonald’s lawsuit filed last week in Dakota County.

“The safeguards set forth in the Order of the Minnesota Supreme Court relating to her practice of law have been ignored by Ms. MacDonald and her cohorts,” wrote Hansen. Continue reading

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki moves back to her home in Florida

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is no longer in Minnesota and has moved back to her home in Florida, according to public records.

Last month, Grazzini-Rucki requested her probation be transferred from Minnesota to her home state of Flordia. The request was approved last week, and Grazzini-Rucki has since moved back to Florida.

Grazzini-Rucki was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee on May 15, 2018, after serving a total of 240 days for her 2016 conviction on six counts of deprivation of parental rights for her role in the disappearance of her daughters.

She remains on supervised probation until September 13, 2018, and was living at an address in Stearns County after being released from prison. The requested transfer proves again that Grazzini-Rucki has ties to Florida including a residence.

Continue reading

MacDonald sues Michael Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota

Michelle MacDonald served a lawsuit today on Michael Brodkorb, and Missing in Minnesota, alleging defamation, defamation per se, and defamation by implication.

MacDonald is suing in part over the publication of a booking photo from her arrest during a court hearing involving Sandra Grazzini-Rucki on September 12, 2013, as well as our reporting that she was labeled a “person of interest” by the Lakeville Police Department in the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

Missing in Minnesota has been threatened with legal action since 2016 by MacDonald over the use of her public booking from her arrest. In her own book, MacDonald acknowledged that law enforcement considered her a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the Rucki sisters.

Both Brodkorb and Missing in Minnesota will vigorously defend themselves in this legal action.

Below is a copy of the lawsuit served on Brodkorb and Missing and Minnesota earlier today.

Video shows MacDonald and Evavold partying at GOP State Convention

A recently uncovered video shows Michelle MacDonald partying with her then campaign chair and manager Dede Evavold at the 2014 Republican Party of Minnesota State Convention, during the time Evavold was actively concealing the whereabouts of two missing sisters.

At the time of this video, Evavold was working on MacDonald’s 2014 campaign for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Last week, MacDonald filed again to run for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Evavold was convicted in September 2016 on six counts of felony deprivation of parental rights involving the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki.

The girls’ mother, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, abducted her daughters during a divorce and custody dispute with her ex-husband, David Rucki.

Grazzini-Rucki was also convicted of six felonies for her role in the disappearance of her daughters.

MacDonald served as Grazzini-Rucki’s family court attorney and briefly represented her during her criminal trial.

In the video, Evavold is holding a half-empty glass of beer, and she tells MacDonald that they are campaigning on “truth.”

Evavold worked with MacDonald’s campaign for 540 of the 944 days the Rucki children were missing. Continue reading