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

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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Divorce & Minnesota Residency

It sometimes transpires that both parties reside in Minnesota and need recourse to the courts for divorce, but are unable to do so because neither party has been here long enough to satisfy the six-month residency requirement for Minnesota to assume jurisdiction under Minn. Stat. §518.07.  In these cases, one solution is to commence an […]

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Stale Charges

Your client plans to travel to another state where there is an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on a traffic charge issued ten years ago.  Is prosecution barred by a statute of limitations?  First, a statute of limitations is a bar to filing a stale charge.  The filing of a criminal charge and arrest […]

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Goodbye Windows XP

Here’s an item for your 2014 calendar: April 1—Confirm we have no computers using Windows XP in operation at home or work. Now April Fool’s Day may seem like a long time off as you read this, but running Windows XP after Microsoft ceases Windows XP support means that you are behaving like a fool. […]

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Figure Out Your Daily Revenue Target

A daily revenue target can be a powerful motivator. If nothing else, it is a useful way to track your success over time. Here is how to figure out what you need to make every day: Write down your target take-home salary. Add your total expenses, including employees, partners’ target salaries, etc. Divide by 242. […]

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Gifts of Real Estate to Religious Corporations

Gifts of real estate to religious bodies are rare, but frequently the donee is misidentified.  Many churches are known by abbreviated versions of their full name, e.g., “St. Jude’s Catholic Church” is actually “The Church of Saint Jude of the Lake, Mahtomedi, Minnesota.” Many times the beneficiary is unaware of an intended gift, and has […]

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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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Recreational Liability Waivers

Every time you sign up a child for a soccer team, or you register for a day at a water park or a night at a pub crawl, you have no doubt signed a waiver of liability for the soccer club or event sponsor. When doing so, have you wondered, “Is this liability waiver actually […]

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Fines and Restitution

If a defendant’s sentence includes both a fine and restitution and the defendant makes one or more payments to court administration, the district court may not apply the defendant’s payments to the restitution obligation before the fine unless the district court previously issued an order that so specified. Since the early 1980s, state court administration […]

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