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

The Fool-Proof Hearsay Test

Many hearsay objections can be summarily resolved by first applying the definition of hearsay to the out-of-court statement.  On close examination, in many cases, statements that appear to be hearsay actually are not. Making that initial determination involves three steps: Step One—First Determine: Is the statement being offered actually “hearsay” and therefore not admissible unless […]

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Employment Retaliation

Proving retaliation by employers against employees has become easier under state law and more difficult under federal law as a result of two recent developments. In Minnesota, the whistleblower statute, Minn. Stat. §181.932, has been amended, enlarging the rights of employees who claim to be subjected to reprisals for reporting improprieties to management. Major changes […]

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Minnesota Assumed Name Certificates

Ten years—that is the term for a trademark registered with the state of Minnesota (with a term of ten more years for each renewal of that state trademark registration).  That also was the term for a Minnesota assumed name filing, but not anymore.  Now a Minnesota assumed name certificate must be renewed annually. Every individual […]

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Child Support & the IRS

In family court proceedings involving child support there are several IRS tax rules that every family law attorney and judge should know: Taxable v. Deductible: Receipt of child support is not reported as taxable income and child support payments are not tax deductible by the payor. IRC §71 (C)(1). General (IRS) Rule—Dependency Exemption: The custodial […]

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Employer Investigations

Reversing a 34-year precedent, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), recently ruled that an employer must disclose witness statements and other data to a labor union representing an employee who may be subject to discipline for the incident.  American Baptist Homes, 359 NLRB 46 (2012).  The decision overruled Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 2037 NLRB 982 (1978), whose […]

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FMLA Notice

Wmployees seeking to activate their rights under the Federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take time off from work for medical reasons must give timely notice of their request for leave of absence.  A recent ruling of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals underscores the need for compliance with the timeliness requirement.  In […]

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Landlord-Tenant Calls

As any lawyer who has advertised landlord-tenant services knows, calls from tenants tend to be unproductive. This is because most landlord-tenant problems boil down to money, and most of the time, tenants are better off spending their money on rent, not on a lawyer. Bigger problems, unfortunately, do not usually make good contingent-fee cases. Anyone […]

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Charitable Donations

Heartfelt appeals to help somebody during a medical crisis or help a grieving family are familiar to us all.  Whether in the form of a jar at the check-out or a direct request for donations, these appeals sometimes prompt clients to ask if a donation to the cause is tax-deductible.  Often, the answer is no. […]

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Attorney’s Fees

Attorney’s Fees The amount of money at issue in a litigated case must now be taken into account in determining awards of attorney’s fees.  A recent ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Green v. BMW of North America, LLC, 2013 WL 513241 (Minn. 2013), reversed a fee award that was close to $230,000. The […]

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Discovery Misconduct

Faced with a well-bankrolled, stone-walling respondent in litigation, a plaintiff’s attorney faces formidable odds.  If the defendant denies the existence of discoverable electronic evidence and opposing counsel declines to cooperate, pursuing discovery can be both costly and fraught with issues of information security and confidentiality.  But if such evidence is discovered and is demonstrably relevant […]

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