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

Depersonalize Advocacy

In litigation and in disputed transactional work, it is the clients, not the lawyers, who are adverse.  Some litigation and transactional documents and arguments, however, seem to suggest otherwise.  They are phrased in personal terms, as though the dispute was all about the lawyers. We all have received letters from lawyers improperly referring to us […]

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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 App. 2014)(unpublished), which affirmed denial of general damages and remanded for determination of special damages.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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Human Rights Act

A recent amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act allowing a jury trial at the option of any party may affect how lawyers and their clients evaluate, negotiate, and resolve claims of discrimination and harassment under state law.  Minn. Stat. §363A.33, subd. 6, brings the Human Rights Act into conformity with federal discrimination and harassment […]

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OFP & HRO Hearings

The hearing requirement for a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO)  or Order for Protection (OFP) includes the right to testify on your own behalf, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to produce documents. Anderson v. Lake, 536 N.W.2d 909, 911 (Minn. App. 1995). Failure to provide a party with a full and fair hearing will result […]

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Client Communications

Client communications today include social media, text messaging, and volumes of emails. Thus the odds of important client communications falling through the cracks are huge. Here are three strategies to tame the communication beast and limit potential malpractice issues: Implement a clear communication policy that informs clients of the acceptable forms of communication for your […]

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Immigration Facts Every Judge and Attorney Should Know

1. Pleading guilty to domestic assault “intent to cause fear” is no longer a “safe” plea for noncitizens. In the past, most criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors operated under the assumption that a conviction of domestic assault “intent to cause fear” in violation of Minn. Stat. §609.2242 subd. 1(1) was a “safe” plea for noncitizen defendants because […]

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Word for iPad

Lots of attorneys want to be able to work with Microsoft Word (*.doc or *.docx) files on an iPad, but they don’t know what is available to allow them to do so. There are a number of programs for the iPad that are essentially the equivalent of a mobile version of Microsoft Office. Blogger Randy […]

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Property both Torrens and Abstract

Occasionally a practitioner comes across a property which includes both Torrens and abstract titles, the result of combining two or more parcels for one use. A conveyance of such lots must be recorded both with the Registrar of Titles (Torrens) and with the County Recorder (abstract).  A recorded document on one side will not constitute […]

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Divorce & Tax Refunds

Frequently, divorcing spouses will need to file tax returns in a joint married status after the commencement of the case, but before entry of the decree.  Because refunds are typically divided equally, this can involve complicated arrangements over the logistics of doing so—depending on the level of mistrust—even to the point of requiring the issuance […]

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Defamation Privileges

Privileges abound in defamation, comprising absolute or conditional defenses to claims of communications that harm the reputation of the subject.  A pending decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court may expand or constrict one of them:  the privilege for statements made during a background investigation of a prospective police officer.  In Minke v. City of Minneapolis, […]

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Brent Routman

Brent Routman was president of the Minnesota State Bar Association from 2011-2012. He is a partner, general counsel, and Asia Regional Trademark Attorney with the intellectual property law firm of Merchant & Gould in Minneapolis.

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