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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Poisonous Fruit & Civil Forfeiture: A New Rule in Minnesota

The exclusionary rule, barring from inclusion in a criminal trial any evidence unlawfully obtained, has long been the law in Minnesota.  In 2014 we witnessed the court’s extension of the rule to civil forfeiture cases for the first time, but new legislation that took effect August 1 may have robbed the decision of much of […]

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Expungement Revisited: Minnesota’s New Second Chance Law

Many Minnesotans with a criminal record impeding their chances for employment and other opportunities can pursue a second chance by petitioning for expungement of their record. The new Second Chance Law, effective January 1, will now provide a meaningful and full remedy. Ambiguities remain for the courts to address and access to the remedy remains […]

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Bitcoin and the Like: The New Payment Method, or More?

Ever since Bitcoin was introduced in 2009, regulators and users have puzzled over the nature of this new medium and struggled to discern its risks, limitations, and fundamental nature.  A study committee of the Uniform Law Commission is now grappling with these types of regulatory questions.  Whether a uniform state law will emerge remains to […]

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Every Dog Has Its Day–In Court: Requirements of Minnesota’s Dangerous Dog Statute

Dogs and their owners in Minnesota enjoy significant statutory and procedural protections when the dangerousness of the dog is in question, but a default to local ordinances to implement the statute makes knowing the local regulations imperative for owners. Approximately 31.9 percent of households in Minnesota include at least one dog.1 While many dog owners […]

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Charitable Contributions: Gifts That Will Keep on Giving in 2015

As the end of the year approaches, thoughts turn to giving, tax planning, and being thankful for the benefits the year has brought.  Charitable giving and happiness seem to complement one another, a process that may be enhanced if you are aware of what is and is not deductible and what steps are necessary to ensure your gift does the most good. […]

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Conservation Easements: Attractive Opportunity or Risky Endeavor?

Conservation easements present an attractive option for landowners looking to gain a tax advantage while preserving and protecting treasured land, but the process of establishing one can be both costly and onerous and the financial benefits may be limited. “[C]onservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” —Aldo […]

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Keeping the Genie Contained: Tips to Avoid Spoliation in Electronic Discovery

The proliferation of electronically stored information and related devices to store, access, and manage such information poses discovery challenges for counsel representing both individuals and businesses.  Risks of spoliation and runaway cost continue to grow and require careful, strategic planning to remain under control. It’s here; it’s there; it’s everywhere— electronically stored information (“ESI”)—that is, […]

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Custody and Parenting Time: Minnesota Amendments Codify Compromises

Amid evolving concepts of family and parenting Minnesota’s legislature has enacted amendments to child custody and parenting time statutes that took effect August 1, 2014.  While these appear agnostic as regards whether joint physical custody and equal parenting time are presumed preferable, statutory neutrality on the subject may lead courts that have favored sole custody […]

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Pleadings Plain or Plausible: Minnesota Claims Survive Twombley/Iqbal Challenge

Notice pleading, for many years the preferred standard in both Minnesota and federal courts, was constrained at least in federal litigation when the United States Supreme Court decided to require that civil pleadings state claims that are not only possible but demonstrably plausible. To the surprise of some and relief of others, the Minnesota Supreme […]

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Service Under Scrutiny: Honing a Basic Tool in the Litigator’s Toolbox

Service of process is an essential, basic tool for any litigator but not one to be treated lightly.  Heightened judicial scrutiny, uncooperative defendants, and increasing concern for consumer rights have combined to complicate matters, giving attorneys more reasons than ever to get it right the first time. Service of process, long an established step in […]

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