Three members of the Billings Rod and Gun Club have been sued by an ousted member who claims their actions put him out of business as a seller and distributor of specialty shotguns and clay targets.
The lawsuit was filed in Yellowstone County District Court in July by Timothy L. Nagel against former board member Billy Williams, club vice president Mike Schmidt and club president Irv Wilke. Nagel is seeking compensation for financial losses and legal costs, damages for emotional distress and punitive damages.
The Billings Rod and Gun Club is private, nonprofit shooting facility located west of the airport atop the Rims. It offers its members access to archery, pistol, rifle, skeet, cowboy action shooting and sporting clays ranges. The club also serves as a meeting place for other sporting groups and hunter education classes.
Nagel is the founder of Advanced MRI in Billings, according to the company’s website. In 2001 he also founded BioPred, a scientific research firm that “targets the search for agents that will detect, prevent, and treat neurological diseases.”
The complaint filed by Nagel’s attorney, Matthew Braukmann, contends that through his BioPred company, Nagel began work in 2008 as a distributor and seller of products manufactured by White Flyer, which makes clay targets, and Kolar Arms shotguns. By 2010, the sales work had provided “significant financial profits to BioPred.”
Nagel’s complaint states that in October 2009, Williams, Schmidt and others began a “systematic and surreptitious effort” to put Nagel out of business by telephoning the companies and “making defamatory and unsubstantiated negative remarks and comments about Nagel.” In court filings, Schmidt and Williams deny the allegations.
Nagel filed a complaint with the club’s board in 2010 about the alleged harassment, the suit claims, and then Wilke began an investigation without approval by the club’s board that resulted in more calls to White Flyer and Kolar, despite Nagel’s request that no calls be made. Schmidt said the special investigation was implemented after the board discussed and approved the move.
Nagel’s distributorship with Kolar was revoked in December 2009. In May 2010, White Flyer cut its ties. Nagel claims the actions were the result of the alleged phone calls.
No trial date has been set.