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

Just Saying No: The Limits of Warrantless Searches

A case involving Minnesota’s DWI test refusal statute could yield a major 4th Amendment decision from the United States Supreme Court Minnesota is one of a handful of U.S. states that have criminalized the refusal to submit to a warrantless search in suspected DUI cases. This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Minnesota […]

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Judicare: The ‘low bono’ option you may not know

Do Good. Gain experience. (Get paid.) We are all familiar with the enormous justice gap nationally and in Minnesota. Staff attorney legal aid programs in Minnesota are so swamped and underfunded that they must turn away two of every three eligible clients.1 In Minnesota, there is one private attorney for every 369 people living above […]

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The Evolving World of Employee Leave 

How some states are filling in the gaps left by the FMLA The place to start when addressing a request for medical or sick leave is the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). But challenges to application of the FMLA are compounded by what are commonly referred to as mini-FMLAs—state medical leave laws such […]

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Court issues orders 

Amending rules of Continuing Legal Education In response to a joint petition filed by the MSBA and the MN Board of Continuing Legal Education requesting that the cap on the number of credits allowed for law office management be eliminated, the court issued an order promulgating that change effective July 1, 2016. The recommendation that […]

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They’re Coming! The drones, that is—and the FAA regulations governing their use

Despite 2015 drone sales approaching three-quarters of a million units, the FAA has been slow to enact regulations governing their safe flight in U.S. airspace or to permit commercial uses, except through specific individual exemptions. This article addresses the current industry landscape, proposed FAA regulations and regulations in other countries, and recommendations for U.S. regulations. […]

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The New Best Interest of the Child Factors

A summary of the new provisions in Minnesota family law After several years of deeply collaborative work by representatives from various factions of family law interests, a number of statutory changes have been made to Minnesota law. The most significant of these is the revamp of the “best interest of the child” factors. These changes […]

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The Consensual Special Magistrate: Minnesota’s Appealable Alternative to Arbitration

As a means of resolving business-to-business disputes, arbitration is a high-risk strategy that has fallen into growing disfavor. Minnesota’s consensual special magistrate system is a little-known alternative with major potential advantages—not least among them, the fact that its outcomes can be appealed. Ask most lawyers and even judges about Minnesota’s “consensual special magistrate” (CSM), and […]

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Spouses With Benefits: How Obergefell may refigure the employee benefits equation

Though the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the Constitutional issue of same-sex marriage, employee benefits managers and attorneys can look forward to a lengthy period of implementation and adaptation. Some of the implications are already clear; others will be years in taking shape. Here are a few of the key points to consider. Marital status […]

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Medi-juana and the Workplace: Examining Employees’ Protections Under Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Law

In July 2015, medical cannabis became legal in Minnesota—thereby opening a new set of questions for Minnesota courts and state employment law. Here’s what attorneys and employers need to know about the new law’s provisions, its interactions with other state and federal statutes, and the evolving case law from other states. On May 29, 2014, […]

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How to Be an Expert on Expert Discovery

Disclosure obligations and discovery limitations under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 26 A set of 2013 amendments to Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 26 has changed the playing field with respect to disclosure and discovery requirements regarding expert witnesses. The modified rule contains traps for the unwary attorney—particularly when it comes to those witnesses with personal […]

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