New Glarus Brewing Company boss sues investor lawyers for libel
The CEO of New Glarus Brewing Co. has yet to respond to a shareholder lawsuit in August alleging she was trying to oust some original investors, but she has filed other legal documents: a libel action against investor lawyers.
Deborah Carey’s lawsuit names Middleton Palmersheim Dettmann law firm as the defendant, which issued a press release in August about the lawsuit he filed on behalf of the three investors against the brewery, making Spotted Cow, Moon Man and other popular beers and only sell them in Wisconsin.
It also lists as defendants up to 50 anonymous news media who the lawsuit says also defamed her by reporting the allegations in the lawsuit. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the case, but only two Madison TV stations and one craft brewing industry publication are identified in Carey’s complaint.
The lawsuit says the statements in the press release were made with “envy, ill will, bad intention, malice, grudge, revenge and other bad motives”, who combine to express nastiness towards Carey.
Carey says the most egregious misrepresentation and implication is that New Glarus kept over $ 100 million in profits and $ 40 million in cash. Her lawsuit says the law firm’s statement implies that she “personally and improperly” kept the brewery’s money.
The lawsuit also cites other allegations from the press release as libelous:
- That she and her husband funded a distillery they own with New Glarus profits.
- That she changed house rules to prevent donations of brewery stock to a charity other than the one created by Carey.
- That only sufficient distributions to pay the share of the taxes of the shareholders on the income of the brewery have been made
- That Carey manipulated and withheld financial information to affect low-priced stock purchases from minority holders in order to strengthen his control. She says her share of the business is smaller now than it was in 2014.
The press release statements “had a negative impact on Carey’s hard-earned reputation as an honest and upright businessman,” according to his lawsuit, which also states that Palmersheim Dettmann had, as of September 24, refused to retract and correct statements and implications.
The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court last week, seeks unspecified compensatory, special, consequential and punitive damages.
Neither Palmersheim Dettmann nor Carey’s attorneys at von Briesen & Roper have returned emails seeking comment on the libel action.