Call 507-625-2525

Areas of Law

Newsworthy Category

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

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More