Court Reverses $1.4M Retaliation Judgment

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – The 8th Circuit reversed a $1.4 million judgment against the city of St. Peters and its former mayor in a free-speech case.

     In a federal lawsuit, Brian and Karla Hodak claimed that St. Peters and former Mayor Tom Brown retaliated against Brian Hodak for his criticism of the defendants. Hodak said the defendants sent patrol cars frequently to his bar and even pulled the bar’s liquor license in an attempt to keep him quiet.
     In November, a jury ruled that Brown should pay $1 million in punitive damages to Karla Hodak’s company, H/N Planning and Control Inc., and ordered St. Peters to pay $375,000 to compensate for business losses.
     But the 8th Circuit ruled that the company that owned the bar lacked standing in the suit and reversed the decision. Brian Hodak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he will ask the entire appeals court to overturn the three-judge panel’s ruling.

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