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Judge 'trims up' Dill's suit against rink board

November 07, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A Washington County Circuit Court judge Friday "trimmed up" the lawsuit filed in July by the former executive director of the Hagerstown-owned ice rink who is claiming breach of contract, defamation, slander of credit, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Walter E. Dill Sr. is seeking a total of $2.3 million - the value of the ice rink - in compensatory and punitive damages from the Washington County Sports Foundation Inc., according to a civil suit filed in Washington County Circuit Court July 11.

Friday Judge Kennedy Boone granted the foundation's motion to dismiss Dill's petition for injunctive relief. But Boone allowed the breach of contract, emotional distress, etc., claims to stand for a future hearing.

"I also limited the amount of punitive damages," Boone said. "Dill will have to amend his claim and state why he believes he is entitled to punitive damages."

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Boone left undisturbed Dill's claims for compensatory damages.

Bill Breichner, foundation board chairman and a Hagerstown city councilman, said in July that the foundation is insured against lawsuits.

In his lawsuit, Dill is seeking a full retraction and a public apology and clarification to inform people of the truth in regard to a notice posted at the rink in November 1997.

The note notified patrons, volunteers and employees that Dill had no official say at the rink, court documents said.

The notice, signed by Breichner, said "Mr. Walter E. Dill Sr. does not serve in any official capacity with the Hagerstown ice rink. This includes any and all volunteer activities. Therefore, he is not authorized to issue any orders, instructions or advice on behalf of the management."

In the lawsuit, Dill alleges that the sports foundation and ice rink have failed to free him from liability on various contractual obligations and haven't paid Dill back for what he's owed, court documents said.

Dill spent at least $12,000 of his own money and was responsible for raising more than $1 million, said J. Gregory Hannigan, Dill's attorney, when the suit was filed.

Hannigan also said in July that Dill is still on the hook for loans taken out for the rink. Dill apparently learned that was the case when he tried to buy a car and a credit check was done, Hannigan said.

Dill helped the sports foundation secure liability insurance and additional financing by pledging his personal credit as a co-signer of a loan through Hagerstown Trust Co., court documents said.

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