BOULDER, Colo. (June 4, 2018) – On June 1, 2018, ASHI issued a press release touting a Colorado trial court’s dismissal of InterNACHI’s lawsuit against the now defunct NAHI.
ASHI’s press release is wrong in several important aspects, but the most notable omission is ASHI’s failure to tell its members that ASHI spent more than $100,000 to defend a lawsuit it was not named in and that the trial court denied ASHI’s motion for an order requiring InterNACHI to pay the legal fees ASHI incurred by intervening in a lawsuit it was not named in.
ASHI’s press release incorrectly states InterNACHI sued NAHI claiming ASHI could not accept NAHI’s former members after NAHI closed its doors. InterNACHI did not allege ASHI could not accept NAHI’s former members; InterNACHI alleged it was unlawful for NAHI and ASHI to conspire to make all NAHI members ASHI members without their knowledge or permission, and that this was a restraint of trade that harmed consumers.
Although InterNACHI’s lawsuit did not name ASHI as a defendant, ASHI intervened in the lawsuit. The court eventually granted an ASHI / NAHI motion for judgment on the pleadings, similar to a motion to dismiss, and InterNACHI appealed. ASHI and NAHI then asked the court to make InterNACHI pay more than $100,000 in legal fees, but the court denied that motion, finding there was “substantial justification” for InterNACHI’s lawsuit. ASHI and NAHI appealed the order denying their request for attorney’s fees. The result was that two appeals were pending in the Colorado Court of Appeals.
On June 1, 2018, InterNACHI agreed to drop its appeal if ASHI and NAHI would drop their appeal. ASHI’s press released touted this as an ASHI victory but failed to mention the trial court’s denial of ASHI’s motion for attorney’s fees and the fact that ASHI spent more than $100,000 of its money to fight a lawsuit in which it was not named as a defendant.
In a related story, last year ASHI sued InterNACHI and Nick Gromicko in federal court in Illinois for alleged defamation. That suit was nearly identical to a similar suit EBPHI had filed against InterNACHI and Gromicko. The same lawyers represented ASHI and EBPHI. InterNACHI moved to dismiss both suits based on lack of jurisdiction and based on the merits. The federal court dismissed the EBPHI suit, stating EBPHI had “failed to meaningfully develop legal arguments.” ASHI saw the writing on the wall and voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit to prevent InterNACHI from seeking legal fees.
And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story. InterNACHI’s members and the public can always count on InterNACHI to tell the full story, not just half of it.