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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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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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Who Owns the Dog?

Let’s say you own a dog named Oliver. You love this dog very much but move away for school, so you ask a friend to keep him. Your friend agrees. When you return from school two years later, you ask for Oliver back, but your friend refuses to return Oliver to you. Whose dog is it? This fact situation is actually quite common in our society. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently decided this very issue in the case Zephier v. Agate. The question turned on whether Oliver was “abandoned” property in the legal sense. As a general rule, property...
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Contesting a Will

A will is an official legal document. Simply disliking the results of a will is not enough to justify a valid challenge to a will. Wills can be contested for a variety valid reasons including mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud, duress, and improper witnessing. Grounds for contesting a will. 1. Lacking Capacity The person who created the will did not have the testamentary capacity. If the testator is suffering from a serious mental impairment at the time the will was created, there may be a valid argument for contesting it. The test is to determine whether the person fully understood...
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Career Opportunities at Farrish Johnson Law Office

Farrish Johnson Law Office is a growing, well-respected, and award-winning law firm based in Mankato, Minnesota.  Established in 1893, it is the 8th oldest firm in Minnesota.  A full service firm with 14 areas of practice, Farrish Johnson is dedicated to providing clients with quality legal services and serving them with professional reliability and high ethical standards. Farrish Johnson offers competitive compensation and benefits, a comfortable and contemporary office, and engaging opportunities for professional growth. See more information below for current employment opportunities: ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY – FAMILY LAW AND EMPLOYMENT LAW – Mankato, MN: Farrish Johnson Law Office is a seven-attorney law firm...
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