MPA files motion for dismissal of counterclaim

BLYTHEWOOD – MPA Strategies, LLC has filed a reply to the Town’s counterclaims filed July 20, 2021, in response to a lawsuit filed by MPA Strategies against the town government on June 28, 2021. All the claims and responses were filed in the Court of Common Pleas Fifth Judicial Circuit in Richland County.

MPA also filed three motions last week, including one to dismiss.

First Motion

In the first motion, filed Aug. 18, 2021, MPA seeks to have the Town’s counterclaim dismissed, stating that the counterclaim, as it relates to the executed Marketing Agreement, fails “for being brought in an improper venue in violation of the fully negotiated forum selection clause agreeing to jurisdiction in Lexington County,” where MPA’ offices are located.

In the motion, MPA also states that the Town’s counterclaims against MPA Strategies, LLC, Ashley Hunter and State and Frink Foundation for fraud, negligent misrepresentation/fraud in the inducement; violation of S.C. Unfair Trade Practices Act; violation of S.C. Frivolous Civil Proceedings Sanctions Act; civil conspiracy; violation of Federal False Claims Act – 31 U.S. Code Section 3701, et seq.; and negligence/gross negligence, “fail for a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.”

Second Motion

In its second motion, MPA asks the Court to strike Joseph Dickey, the attorney for Ashley Hunter (MPA’s owner), from being called as a witness in Court.

MPA states that on July 20, 2021, the Town of Blythewood, “made false and defamatory allegations in its Answer and Counterclaims by naming Plaintiff and Counterclaim defendants MPA Strategies, LLC (“MPA”), State and Frink Foundation (“State and Frink”) and Ashley Hunter’s attorney Joseph D. Dickey, Jr., Esq. (“Dickey”), in its Counterclaims.

“The Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendants [MPA, Ashley Hunter and State and Frink Foundation] can only speculate that the Town is attempting to create a conflict between them [MPA, Ashley Hunter and State and Frink Foundation] and its chosen counsel and/or to fabricate a basis upon which to seek to disqualify their chosen legal counsel [Dickey] from representation going forward,” the motion states.

“In addition, it seems apparent that the Town seeks to damage Mr. Dickey’s reputation by intentionally making false allegations in its counterclaim.”

“As there is no basis or other valid reason for Mr. Dickey to be identified, the Counterclaim Defendants respectfully request that his name, any allegations against him, and any reference to him be stricken from the Town’s counterclaims,” the motion states.

After presenting a lengthy argument about the issue, the motion states that,“The Town’s counsel [David Black with Nexsen Pruet] and in-house counsel [Shannon Burnett] through her verification, falsely has certified to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, that Mr. Dickey has committed the crimes of fraud and other related crimes. This false certification has occurred despite these facts,” which are listed in the motion:

“1. Prior to Joseph Dickey’s first involvement in this matter, Town Attorney Shannon Burnett advised Town Council at a publicly recorded meeting that having non-profit status was not a requirement for a vendor to perform marketing for the Town.

 “2.  Joseph Dickey’s first involvement in this matter was to draft a letter notifying the Town of his representation and concerns about the contract award at the direction of a client.

“3. Joseph Dickey, once informed, fully disclosed that State and Frink did not have 501(c)(3) status and had no need to obtain it based on the Town’s RFP and applicable law prior to contract execution.

“4. Joseph Dickey provided Town’s counsel persuasive legal authority supporting MPA and State and Frink receiving State A-tax funds and again notifying the Town that State and Frink did not have 501(c)(3) status prior to execution of the contract.

“5. Joseph Dickey’s role as counsel for the Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendants is simply no Rule 11 basis upon which to make the defamatory accusations that he committed crimes or other dishonest actions.

“Based upon these facts and under any reasonable objective standard this certification fails and Town’s counsel and officials should be held accountable for their false certifications,” the motion states. “One can only surmise that the identification of Mr. Dickey is part and parcel of a strategy to create conflict where none exists and/or to deprive the Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendants of the legal counsel of its choosing,” the motion stated.

The motion requested the court to issue an order, “striking any and all allegations identifying and falsely accusing Mr. Dickey of committing a crime, silently making him a witness, and requiring the Town to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs associated with filing and arguing this motion.”

Third Motion

A third motion requested protection from Court appearances for Dickey for a specified period of time for a family matter.

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