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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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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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Requirements for Triggering Pre-Verdict Interest

On January 11, 2021, in Blehr v. Anderson, the court of appeals clarified the requirements for triggering pre-judgment interest under Minn. Stat. 549.09. Section 549.09 allows pre-verdict interest “from the time of the commencement of the action…or the time of a written notice of claim, whichever occurs first.” Often, claimants will send a written letter to the defendant or insurance company prior to making a demand or commencing suit to ensure pre-verdict interest begins to accrue during the investigatory and pre-litigation phase of a claim. Prior to Blehr, debates occurred over what information was sufficient for a pre-suit letter to...
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Update on Expert Witness Requirements in Malpractice Claims

Minn. Stat. § 544.42 generally requires that claimants, who are bringing negligence or malpractice claims against various types of professionals, provide expert testimony establishing the elements of their claim. Claimants may try to avoid this requirement by rebranding their claims as something other than negligence. In Mittelstaedt v. Henney, decided January 4, 2021, the claimant sued his attorney for “breach of fiduciary duty.” The claimant argued that section 544.42’s expert review requirements did not apply because the claim was not for “negligence” or “malpractice.” The court disagreed. It compared the underlying elements of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims...
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What about all the pain and suffering associated with a work injury?

When a worker gets injured on a job and is no longer able to enjoy his or her life because of too much pain or the doctor says it is no longer advisable to engage in activities that the person loved to do, the situation can get pretty frustrating. If, on top of that, the insurer starts delaying payments or denying doctor visits, or not approving treatment that is recommended, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel that there should be some compensation for all the pain and suffering you have to go through just because you got hurt...
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Is There a Limit for Child Support Payments in MN?

In decades past, a mother would have primary custody of the children after a divorce. The father would typically have the children every other weekend and on alternating holidays. And almost universally, it was the father that paid child support. In the 2000s, times—and families—have changed. There are more parents who were never married to each other. It is not unusual for children to split their time 50/50 between both parents. It is a myth that joint legal custody eliminates any child support obligations. More same-sex couples are having families Someone other than the parents may have custody of a...
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Common Workers Compensation Questions and Answers

If you have gotten hurt on the job (or working has aggravated your injury), you may have a workers’ compensation case. However, before you go running to a lawyer, you may want to get a little more information. Here are some common questions that you may be having. What is workers’ compensation?  Workers’ compensation is the insurance system that was designed to protect both employers and employee with injuries, illness, or death that occurs at work. Employers have to pay for workers’ compensation insurance which is meant to protect them against any injuries that occur at work. What do I...
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How Social Security Disability Law Applies to Minnesota Residents

Social Security rules and laws can be very complex, but there are specific regulations that also apply to Minnesota residents. Legal professionals who are well versed in federal social security laws and can guide their clients on the best filing options for their unique disability or retirement. For example, a legal expert can help you decide on closed period or long-term social security benefits. Keep reading more for more details gathered by the legal professionals at the Farrish Johnson Law Office to see how social security laws apply to your claim. What Is Social Security? Social security is a comprehensive federal benefits program designed...
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