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SLAPP Suits

More than 30 states, including Minnesota, recognize the right of a defendant to raise as a defense that its underlying behavior was aimed at securing favorable action by a public body.  Designed to deter SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) suits, the Minnesota law that immunizes conduct directed to obtaining favorable government action (Minn. Stat. […]

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Performance Reviews

Public sector employees in Minnesota may now challenge their performance reviews.  A ruling this summer by the Minnesota Supreme Court, affirming a decision of the court of appeals, held that the accuracy and completeness of such job reviews in a proceeding before the Department of Administration could be challenged in Schwanke v. Minnesota Dept. of […]

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Unemployment Compensation

One obstacle that occasionally trips up applicants for unemployment compensation benefits is the obligation that they be “actively seeking suitable employment,” as required by Minn. Stat. §268.085, subd. 1(4).  The phrase “actively seeking,” defined as “being ready, willing, and able” to accept suitable employment, applies to all seekers of unemployment benefits, regardless of the reason […]

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The Great War Recalled: Minnesota Law & World War I

This month’s centenary of the outbreak of the “War to end all Wars” evokes memories of issues and events that then shaped and in many cases continue to shape Minnesota jurisprudence.  Precedents involving free speech, selective service, insurance, wrongful death, contracts, and securities law continue to sound. This month, August, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary […]

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Wrongful Death

Damages for wrongful death can be hard to obtain in Minnesota, where the law requires establishing “pecuniary loss.”  The difficulty was reflected in a recent ruling of the Minnesota Court of Appeals upholding a zero-damage jury verdict in Holtegaard v. Soo Line R.R. Co., 2014 WL 3396871 (Minn. App. 07/14/2014)(unpublished).  The jury refused to award […]

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Defamation Damages

Those seeking or defending against remedies for defamation, consisting of harm to reputation, face a number of issues not encountered in other torts, as reflected in Green v. Kellen, 2014 WL 2178783 (Minn. App. 2014)(unpublished), which affirmed denial of general damages and remanded for determination of special damages. The remedy of injunctive relief generally is […]

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The Dough Boy’s Devise: Severance Takes a Poke

New developments—both in the economy and the law—have brought about changes in severance packages given by employers to employees. Severance arrangements in which employers provide compensation to departing employees, along with other terms and conditions, have deep Minnesota roots. But rulings of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals1 have dealt setbacks to employees who have entered […]

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Deconstructing the Dome: Legacy of Litigation Lingers

Conceived in the 1970s to replace the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minneapolis’s iconic Metrodome has graced the skyline since 1982 and left its mark on Minnesota’s legal landscape as well. Before the month is done, so will be the Metrodome. The venerable facility has been the scene of a Super Bowl (won by Washington), a […]

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Offspring of Camelot’s Demise: The Legal Legacy of JFK’s Assassination

A myriad of changes in the law, spanning criminal procedure, civil rights and employment law among others, were triggered by the death of President Kennedy 50 years ago. Both federal and Minnesota law and practice reflect that legacy. Now that the splurge of media attention to the 50th anniversary of the death of President John […]

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Unexcused Absence

For employees in Minnesota, absences from work make it harder to keep their jobs or, if they lose them, to obtain unemployment compensation benefits.  Four recent rulings of the Minnesota Court of Appeals make the case.  Jusczak v. Lampert Yards, Inc., 2013 WL 5418103 (Minn. App. 09/30/2013) (unpublished) (employees left work and did not return […]

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