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Farrish Johnson Law Office

Engagement Ring: Who gets the ring after a divorce?

I often get asked, “Andy, who gets the engagement ring after the divorce?” Typically, one partner buys the other an engagement ring before they are married, so the partner who made the purchase should get the engagement ring post-divorce, right? Wrong. The ring belongs to the partner who receives the ring. According to Minnesota case law, an engagement ring is considered to be a conditional gift which is given in contemplation of marriage. Thus, because the parties contemplated marriage and got married, the partner who received the engagement ring is entitled to keep it as non-marital property. However, if a...
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Unemployment Law in Minnesota: If an Employee Quits

In Minnesota, a former employee may still receive unemployment benefits if he or she falls under one of ten exceptions. One of the most common exceptions is “adverse working conditions.” In summary, the employee must have suffered unpleasant working conditions that the employer was responsible for, and that it would compel an average reasonable worker to quit. Most importantly, the employee must have complained to the employer and given them an opportunity to correct such adverse working conditions. If you quit your job, you still may be eligible for unemployment benefits in Minnesota. Contact attorney Andrew Moeller by email or...
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Is it Time to Update your Employee Handbook?

Once you have an Employee Handbook, it is easy to put it on the shelf and forget about it. But new rules, regulations, policies, and laws may require changes to your Handbook. For example, does your Handbook account for the Minnesota Wage Disclosure Protection law? Does its anti-discrimination policy include all of the protected classes identified in the Minnesota Human Rights Act (including gender identify)? Have you implemented new policies that need to be incorporated into the Handbook? It is a good idea to have your Employee Handbook reviewed to ensure it stays up to date and complies with current...
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Unemployment Law in Minnesota

  The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to our society, including to our work force. Many people had to quit their job or were fired. Often, it is assumed that if an employee quit or was fired, they will be unable to receive unemployment in Minnesota. However, this is inaccurate. Under the law in Minnesota, you may be able to get unemployment if you were fired for several reasons, including simple unsatisfactory conduct, conduct an average and reasonable employee would have engaged in under the circumstances, mere inefficiency, or inadvertence. If you had to quit your job or were...
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Evictions During the Pandemic: Update

On June 29, 2021, the State of Minnesota enacted a law, Minnesota Session Laws 2021, 1st Special Session, Chapter 8 H.F. No.4, Article V, which phased out the COVID-19 based moratorium that suspended evictions and landlord-initiated lease terminations since March of 2020. As of today, most off-ramp protections ended on October 12, 2021. Landlords can file evictions for any legal reason except for non-payment of rent evictions for tenants who have a pending COVID-19 emergency rental assistance application. Moreover, on June 1, 2022, protections for tenants with pending COVID-19 emergency rental assistance applications expire on June 1, 2022; thus, eviction...
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Minnesota Court of Appeals Decides Liability Waiver Issue

In Justice v. Marvel, LLC, A20-1318 (Minn. App. July 19, 2021), the court of appeals decided several issues related to the enforceability of liability waivers. First, the court held that a “parent is authorized to sign, on behalf of his or her own minor child, an exculpatory clause that releases a negligence claim against a third-party.” The court further held that if “the exculpatory clause is valid and enforceable, it is binding on the child after the child becomes an adult.” Second, the court held that an “exculpatory clause that is overly broad because it purports to release claims of...
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Minnesota Court of Appeals Decides Privacy Case

In Smallwood v. State, A21-0001 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 23, 2021), the court of appeals decided several issues effecting privacy claims. The case concerned a hacker accessing a Minnesota Department of Human Services e-mail account. Smallwood, who was civilly committed to the state sex-offender program as a sexually dangerous person, was informed that his private information may have been accessed. He sued the state arguing that this caused him emotional and economic harm. Smallwood’s first claim against the state was for violation of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. The district court dismissed this claim at the outset for failing...
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Evictions During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented changes in our world, including evictions in Minnesota. Governor Tim Waltz executed Emergency Executive Order 20-79 on July 14, 2020, which is still in effect for evictions in Minnesota. Under this Order, you cannot evict a tenant unless it falls under a few exceptions. Notably, the tenant may be evicted if they (1) seriously endanger the safety of others, (2) cause significant property damage, or (3) violate Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 504B.171, subdivision 1 (including but not limited to: controlled substances, prostitution, and unlawful possession of a firearm). It is unknown when Executive Order 20-79 will...
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What is the difference between wrongful termination damages and unemployment benefits?

When it comes to the termination of one’s employment, there are typically two issues to think about.  First, is the employee eligible for unemployment benefits?  Second, was the termination “wrongful” in the sense that the terminated employee can sue the employer for damages?  Although related, these are two distinct issues that must be separately analyzed. Generally speaking, an employee who is terminated from employment is eligible for unemployment unless the person was terminated for employment misconduct.  Misconduct is defined to mean “any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job, that is a serious violation of...
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Custody Rights of Unmarried Fathers in Minnesota

I often receive phone calls from fathers who are frustrated that they cannot see their children because the mother keeps changing her plans or will only let fathers see the children when it is convenient for the mother. Almost daily I hear, “Well, I signed the Recognition of Parentage and birth certificate, how can she do this?” This is because signing the Recognition of Parentage (otherwise known as “ROP,” i.e., a certificate you sign after the birth of a child) is not enough in Minnesota. Minnesota law mandates for fathers to obtain formal rights for parenting time and custody, fathers...
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