Unsolicited comments about an employee to other employers could give rise to defamation claims.
On January 30, 2023, in Abdul-Haqq v. LaLiberte, the Minnesota court of appeals held that “Minnesota law does not recognize a qualified privilege for defamatory statements made while dispensing unsolicited career advice.” There, LaLiberte contracted with Liam Hawkins as a sales representative for a storm-damage repair company. Several years later, Hawkins contracted with a company associated with Abdul-Haqq. LaLiberte subsequently sent several texts messages to Hawkins that disparaged Abdul-Haqq so that Hawkins could make an informed decision about working for Abdul-Haqq. Abdul-Haqq then sued LaLiberte, alleging the statements in LaLiberte’s text messages were defamatory. A jury awarded $300,000 in damages... Read More
Court of Appeals protects specific gifts of real property from an estate.
On December 12, 2022, in In re Estate of Zych, the court of appeals held that the “personal representative of an estate may not sell real property that the testator has specifically devised by will.” Stanley Zych left his farmland to four sons, certificates of deposit to three daughters, and the remainder of his property was left to all seven children. Prior to his death, several of his assets were mismanaged for over a decade by three of his children. As a result of the mismanagement, the district court found that the three children owed significant sums to the estate,... Read More
What is a Recognition of Parentage?
A Recognition of Parentage (“ROP”) is a document signed by non-married parents of a child. Often, this form is signed at the hospital after the birth of the child, and it is then filed with the Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Vital Records. A ROP establishes a legal relationship between a child and the father, and it is an informal process that does not involve going to court. Moreover, it allows the father’s name to be on the birth certificate and it creates certain legal rights and responsibilities for the father, mother, and child. A ROP can be filled... Read More
Evictions: Protections Over
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. The moratorium has now ended, and landlords can now file evictions for any legal reason. Most common reasons are nonpayment of rent or violation of the lease. Contact Attorney Andrew Moeller, who has won several evictions cases, for a free consultation. Mr. Moeller may be reached at 507-625-2525 or via email.
Minnesota Court of Appeals Clarifies When Self-Defense May Be Claimed
Self-Defense is often thought of as a way to protect yourself from harm. If someone attacks you in some way, you may be justified in using self-defense to stop the attack, and you may not be held liable for any harm that occurs to the attacker. “Reasonable use of force” may be authorized in these situations. But what if there is no attack against you: can you still use self-defense? According to a recent opinion by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the answer is “yes.” In State v. Lampkin, the defendant was charged with domestic assault after he pushed his... Read More
Minnesota Supreme Court Protects Sex Assault Victims’ Privacy Rights
The Minnesota Supreme Court recently reinforced the privacy rights of sexual abuse victims. In In re Hope Coalition, the court held that a criminal defendant’s interest in obtaining the records of a sexual assault victim’s counselor for the purposes of developing his defense did not overcome a statutory protection in Minn. Stat. § 595.02, subd. 1(k), which “creates a privilege for sexual assault counselors.” In sum, the court held that the statutory privacy protection “cannot be pierced in criminal proceedings without the victim’s consent.” The statute did “not permit disclosure of privileged records in a criminal proceeding, even for in camera... Read More
State may be liable for shut downs of business
The Minnesota Supreme Court left open a narrow door for potential claims against the State for economic losses suffered by businesses from COVID related shutdowns. In Buzzell v. Walz, the plaintiff sued for damages over the shutdown of his wedding venue and restaurant. The court addressed a remedial provision of the emergency powers law, Minn. Stat. Ch. 12, which provides that an “owner of commandeered property must be promptly paid just compensation for its use and all damages done to the property while so used for emergency management purposes.” The court held that, for property to be “commandeered” so as to... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More