Men In Black Security countersues state board, claiming defamation, loss of business
A local company that bills itself as a team of deescalation specialists is countersuing the state board that filed a lawsuit against them last month.
For years leading up to the lawsuit, the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services — the board in charge of licensing security companies — investigated Men In Black Security LLC. According to the board, it’s suing the company for offering and performing protective services without a license.
Despite its name in court documents, Men In Black argues it’s not a security company but rather provides deescalation services. And now, the company is countersuing the state board, claiming it’s been defamed and lost business.
“Deescalation is simply a technique to accomplish an objective,” said Rick Hodsdon, chair of the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services.
“Calling it a deescalation technique doesn’t mean what you’re using that deescalation technique for [is] outside the scope of licensing requirements,” he added.
According to court documents, Men In Black was denied a security license from the state board in 2021 due to its owner having a firearm conviction.
Other claims from the suit include an online post from 2022 made by Men In Black: “When you choose Men In Black Security, you can rest assured that you make the best choice for your safety and security.” It goes on to say the post included a comment from an apparent client, writing in part: “You guys have changed the definition of what security and protection look like.”
Men In Black and their legal representation admit to that claim.
Another admission from Men In Black, according to the lawsuit, includes modifying its website after a report by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS from April. The state board claims the company started getting rid of the term “security” and other references.
Men In Black’s attorneys sent the following statement:
“Due to pending litigation, neither Mr. Carothers and/or Mr. Imaun of Men In Black are available for comment. As counsel for Men In Black we want to ensure the community and your viewers that Men In Black is in the business of de-escalation. Men In Black has taken great strides to distance itself from giving the impression that it is a security firm. Men In Black look forward to resolving this matter and continuing to provide excellent service to its clientele.”
Hodsdon was not able to comment on the state board’s next step but did say it’s not over and it could be a lengthy process.