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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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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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Are Workplace Injuries Covered if I am now Working from Home?

Mankato Workplace Injury Attorney Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently declared the coronavirus a “peacetime emergency”, and recommended certain actions for controlling its spread. One of those recommendations included asking businesses to allow teleworking whenever possible. With their workplace now redefined, many are wondering how that might affect their workers’ compensation benefits. Are employees still covered for an on-the-job injury while at home? Here is some vital information to know. Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), the state’s workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault system designed to provide benefits to employees who are injured as a...
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Case Law Update

Due to the coronavirus, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed executive order 20-01, postponing deadlines imposed by statute, including statutes of limitations.  Governor Walz passed legislation suspending all statutes of limitations for 60 days after the end of the “peacetime emergency declaration.”  The effective date of the statute is March 13, 2020; see Legislative Tolling Statutory Deadlines. It is unknown at this time what is specifically meant by the end of the “peace- time emergency declaration.” Please contact attorney Scott Kelly via email or call 507-625-2525 for further information.

Coronavirus In Minnesota And Workers’ Compensation Laws

Like many areas hit by the coronavirus, Covid-19 the virus responsible for the global pandemic has also ravished Minnesota. There has been 576 confirmed cases, 24 patients in ICU, and 10 reported fatalities from Covid-19. The coronavirus is spread from person to person and as a result, state officials have called for residents to self-quarantine. Also referred to as “social distancing,” many Minnesota residents have been furloughed or laid off from their job. In response to the record number of businesses closing down or reducing daily operations, the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill was signed into law. Keep reading more details below to find out...
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Am I covered by workers’ comp due to coronavirus at work?

Nearly everybody who continues to go to work through these difficult times has a number of questions lingering in the back of their mind, including what happens if someone at my work has tested positive for coronavirus and I may have been exposed? Will I be covered by work comp? With the number of cases increasing every day, those are all valid questions that are very new and will need to be looked at through the prism and experience of other cases that dealt with occupational hazards. But the short answer is most likely yes, so long as it can...
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New Federal Legislation Requires Paid Time Off Related to COVID-19

On March 18, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which imposes obligations on many employers to provide temporary paid benefits to employees. There are two separate laws which impose obligations on those employers who employ less than 500 employees. Therefore, this law impacts many small businesses. Paid Medical Leave The first new law is called the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act. Basically, it is Emergency FMLA. But unlike normal FMLA requirements, this Emergency FMLA applies to employers with less than 500 employees and employees who have worked at their place of employment for 30 or more calendar...
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