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
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 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
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... 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
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... Read More
Reception for Judge Lucinda Jesson
Monday, October 29, 2018 5:00-7:00 p.m. Hosted By: Farrish Johnson Law Office 1907 Excel Drive, Mankato CO-HOSTS Joseph Bergstrom* Scott Cutcher Ken White James Kuettner * People for Judge Jesson Campaign Committee PEOPLE FOR JUDGE JESSON HONORARY COMMITTEE CHAIRS Honorable Kathleen Blatz • Honorable Alan Page • Honorable Edward Toussaint www.judgelucindajesson.com Contributions of any amount gratefully accepted Questions about this event? Call Joseph Bergstrom at 507-829-7971 Maximum contribution in 2018 is $2500 *Contributions are not tax-deductible Contributions from corporations, including LLCs and PCs, are not permitted under law Prepared/ paid for by People... Read More
Court of Appeals Affirms Foreclosure Decision
In Leeco, Inc. v. Cornerstone Bank, 2017 WL 2836097, a Naegeli Court Reporter of Appeals affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Cornerstone Bank which had foreclosed its mortgage on property owned by Leeco. Leeco argued that (1) the mortgaged property consisted of “separate and distinct tracts” as so should have been auctioned separately under Minn. Stat. 580.08; and (2) that the Notice of Foreclosure Sale misstated the amount due on the mortgage under Minn. Stat. § 580.04(a)(3). Leeco argued that the lakefront property consisted of separate tracts because it included four tax parcel identification numbers... Read More
Is it Time To Review Your Liability Waiver?
Many businesses use liability waivers – a release signed by customers to prevent them from suing the business in the event they get hurt. At least, they are supposed to. In a recent Minnesota case, Price v. Fitness Together Maple Grove (Minn. App. 2017), a health club member was seriously injured after her personal trainer purportedly dropped a weight on her head. She sued the health club for her injuries. The health club relied on a waiver the member signed and argued that the waiver precluded the lawsuit. The Minnesota Court of Appeals disagreed, holding that the language of the... Read More
Minnesota Wrongful Conviction Statute Declared Unconstitutional
A wrongfully-convicted Minnesota woman is able to seek compensation for the time she spent behind bars – nearly three years – thanks to Attorney Joseph A. Gangi of Farrish Johnson Law Office. A new Minnesota law provides compensation to Minnesotans who were wrongly convicted of a crime and had to serve time in prison because of that. Danna Back petitioned for compensation under this new law. She was exonerated when the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed her conviction on the basis that she did not commit a crime. But a judge denied Back the opportunity to seek compensation because the new... Read More