Lawyer for Kevin Garnett makes case to keep civil lawsuit in Minnesota

Lawyer for Kevin Garnett makes case to keep civil lawsuit in Minnesota Photo: KSTP/File

February 19, 2019 11:49 AM

An attorney for former Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett made his case in federal court Tuesday morning as to why a lawsuit filed by his client should not be dismissed.

The hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim came in response to a motion filed by the lawyers for the Louisville-based accounting firm being sued by Garnett for lack of jurisdiction.

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RELATED: Former Timberwolves star Garnett files lawsuit alleging he was defrauded

Last September, Garnett filed a federal malpractice lawsuit against accountant Michael Wertheim and Welenken CPAs.  The suit alleges the accounting firm enabled Charles Banks IV to defraud Garnett out of millions of dollars. 

Garnett's suit seeks in excess of $77 million in damages.

In court Tuesday morning, Garnett's attorney, Mark Gaughan, argued that a 2016 meeting between Kevin Garnett's sister, Sonya, and Wertheim in Minneapolis is sufficient to give the U.S. District Court-District of Minnesota jurisdiction in the case.

Gaughan also referred to bills and invoices sent by the defendants to Garnett's home in Minnetonka as further rationale for why the allegations made by his client should be tried in Minnesota.

"We simply believe there are enough contacts between the defendants and Mr. Garnett here in Minnesota that this is an appropriate venue for (the lawsuit) to be heard," Gaughan said.

In its motion to dismiss, attorneys for the defendants, Welenken CPAs and Wertheim, state their clients do not do business in Minnesota and therefore it is not the proper forum for the lawsuit to be heard.

The merits of the lawsuit were not discussed Tuesday. 

The arguments from both sides were confined to whether Minnesota is the proper venue for the case.

Garnett was not present for Tuesday's hearing.

Tunheim took the motion under advisement and is expected to make a decision on the motion to dismiss in the coming weeks.

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Tim Vetscher

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