American Utility Management

Jeff Persigehl and Samone Bodley v. Bar-ett Investment Company, Steven Scott Management, Inc., and American Utility Management, Inc. Court File No. 27-CV-13-13415 (State of Minnesota, 4th Judicial District (Hennepin County))

Staff: Billy Hinshaw , Jean Hibray
Attorneys: E. Michelle Drake, Joe Hashmall, Anna P. Prakash

This case is about tenants being charged fees in connection with their utility bills. On July 19, 2013, we filed a Complaint on behalf of proposed classes of Minnesota tenants who have lived in properties either at Ridgebrook Apartments, Minnetonka Terrace, or any other properties owned by Steven Scott Management or Bar-ett Investment Company, and who received a utility bill from American Utility Management, Inc. (AUM). The Complaint alleges that AUM and the other Defendants violated Minnesota law by charging “activation fees,” “administration fees” and other fees to their tenants in connection with their water bills. Click here to read a copy of the Complaint.

Case Status Updates
Oral argument on the pending appeals took place on November 5, 2014. The Court is expected to rule before early February.
Both parties have appealed the district court’s order on the Defendants’ motion to dismiss.  Oral argument on the appeals is scheduled for November 5, 2014.
In December, the Court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss the unjust enrichment claim in this case and the claim that Minnesota law bars the types of fees in this case outright. The Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the claim that Minnesota law requires fees to be equitable. ... Read More »

What Is A Class Action?

In a class action lawsuit, one or more people, called the “class representatives” (in this case Jeff Persigehl and Samone Bodley), sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. Together, this group of people is called a “class” or “class members.” The class representative and the class members together are called the “Plaintiffs.” The companies they sue (in this case, Bar-ett Investment Company, Inc., Steven Scott Management, Inc., and American Utility Management, Inc.), are called the “Defendants.” The judge or jury resolves the claims for everyone in the class—except those who ask to be excluded from the lawsuit. No class has been certified yet in the case.

Is This Certified As A Class Action?

Not at this time. Rule 23 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure governs class actions in state court. The Court has not yet decided whether to allow this lawsuit to proceed as a class action under this rule. At an appropriate time, we intend to file a motion with the Court asking it to certify the lawsuit as a class action. The Complaint alleges that treatment of the lawsuit as a class action is appropriate for the following reasons:

  • There are numerous individuals in the proposed class.
  • There are factual and legal issues that are common to each member of the proposed class.
  • The common factual and legal issues predominate over any individual issues that may be unique to particular consumers.
  • The named plaintiffs’ claims are typical of the claims of the members of the proposed class.
  • The named plaintiffs and the lawyers will adequately represent the proposed class.
  • The company acted or refused to act on grounds that apply generally to the proposed class.
  • Prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the proposed class would create a risk of inconsistent outcomes.
  • A class action will be superior to many individual lawsuits, and will provide members of the proposed class a chance of redress.

Who Is Included?

If the Class is certified, any Minnesota residents who lived in properties owned either by Ridgebrook Investments, Bar-ett Investment Company or Steven Scott Management, and/or anyone who received utility bills from AUM during the applicable time period will be included.

What Time Frame Does This Case Cover?

The time frame this lawsuit covers is any time from July 3, 2007 to the present.

Do I Have To Pay Anything?

You do not have to pay anything to our firm if you join the lawsuit. We are handling this case on a contingency basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement or final judgment.

How Long Will This Case Take?

The Court has not yet issued a scheduling order in this matter.

Is There Money Available Now?

No, not at this time.

How Do I Learn More?

To learn more about this case, feel free to contact the case clerk, Billy Hinshaw, by email at or call toll free at (877) 448-0492, ext. 241.

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