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The official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association



Feature Articles


Competent but compromised: Representing clients on the spectrum between mental health and mental illness
Apr 05, 2021
Just as dissolution clients are screened for domestic violence, it is prudent to screen all clients for mental health issues that might go beyond personality traits or mere quirks. Knowing what to look for and how to respond can save your relationship with your client.
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  • CATEGORY
  • Well-Being
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Cohabitation and spousal maintenance revisited: Sinda v. Sinda and the state of the law
KATHLEEN M. NEWMAN
Apr 05, 2021
In 2016 Minnesota’s spousal maintenance statute was changed to add cohabitation as a reason to modify spousal maintenance. In practice, did the addition of cohabitation as a basis to modify spousal maintenance change the way courts analyze a modification request based on the case law surrounding cohabitation?
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  • CATEGORY
  • Family Law
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Practicing with grace: Covid-19 and the coming eviction crunch
MANAIRE VAUGHN
Apr 05, 2021
To truly understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look at all covid-related legal issues with a systemic lens and be open to creative problem solving. It’s hard to think of an area in which this is more emphatically true than with respect to the impending tsunami of eviction filings once federal and local moratoria are rescinded.
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  • CATEGORY
  • Housing
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Legal aid in a pandemic: Notes from the front lines
LILO SCHLUENDER
Apr 05, 2021
Working in civil legal aid is challenging in good times; working as a civil legal aid attorney in a global pandemic has felt like a Sisyphean undertaking. For the past 12 months, our practice has evolved from poverty lawyers to humanitarian crisis advocates.
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  • Legal Aid
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Momentum builds for changes to Predatory Offender Registry
Stacy L. Bettison
Apr 05, 2021
In late January, the Minnesota Legislature received the final report of the Criminal Sexual Conduct Working Group charged with recommending changes to the criminal sexual conduct statute. For over 13 months the working group—comprising victims/survivors, advocates, prosecutors, law enforcement, and criminal defense attorneys—met to consider a multitude of proposed changes to the law, designed primarily to strengthen the criminal statute.
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  • Criminal Law
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Colleague Corner: Meet Michael Fondungallah
Apr 05, 2021
Michael Fondungallah, a native of Cameroon, received a bachelor’s degree in law and a graduate degree in business law from the University of Yaounde. After migrating to the United States in the 1990s, he earned his JD from the William Mitchell College of Law in 2001. His practice is focused on immigration and employment law.
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  • Colleague Corner
Democracy goes to court: Litigating voting rights and election administration in Minnesota in 2020
By George W. Soule & Anna Veit-Carter
Mar 01, 2021
Minnesota political parties, voter organizations, voters, and election officials fought in court over many aspects of voting and elections. The lawsuits continued after the election, contesting the results of several Minnesota races. This article will review the key Minnesota legal battles over voting and elections in 2020.
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  • Litigation
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What would a discipline office do? Examining the high-profile complaints against election attorneys from a lawyer regulatory perspective
WILLIAM J. WERNZ
Mar 01, 2021
It’s no surprise that a presidential election as bitterly fought as last November’s should also yield a lot of litigation—and a striking volume of complaints from lawyers regarding the conduct of other lawyers. Although many lawyers were involved in the electoral challenges, the spotlight here is on complaints regarding four prominent lawyers.
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  • Professional Responsibility
  • Litigation
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It only sounds like common sense: Why repealing the seat belt evidence rules serves no public purpose
Genevieve M. Zimmerman, Patrick Stoneking, & Joel D. Carlson
Mar 01, 2021
Eliminating Minnesota’s long-standing seat belt evidence rule, as recently promoted in one Bench & Bar article, would result in the largest windfall to negligent drivers and their insurance companies that lawmakers could ever give them.
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  • Personal Injury
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TODD: A game-changer from the 8th Circuit
Sam Calvert
Mar 01, 2021
In early February the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that should horrify anyone who has prepared a transfer-on-death deed (TODD) for a client.
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  • Estate Planning
Construction law: Covid-19 forces contractors to examine AIA agreements
Taylor Stemler
Mar 01, 2021
This essay was the first-place winner in the MSBA Construction Law Section’s 2020 writing competition.
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  • CATEGORY
  • Construction Law
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Jury Trials in the Covid-19 Era
Kristi J. Paulson
Feb 01, 2021
What to expect as courts work to deliver justice through the rest of the pandemic. September marked the first civil jury trials to take place in Minnesota’s court system since the start of the pandemic; two trials proceeded in Hennepin County on the same floor on the same day. Those two cases were tried to verdict and demonstrated that, with proper care and precautions, justice could go forward.
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  • Courts
  • COVID-19
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Supreme Court Says No Pay Can Still Play: Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital is a step forward for employees’ rights
Thomas E. Marshall
Feb 01, 2021
The Minnesota Supreme Court’s July 2020 opinion in Abel v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital represents a win for employees at several levels: through its broad acceptance of the continuing violations theory at the Rule 12 stage of proceedings; by eliminating “compensation” as a necessary element in the definition of “employee” under the Human Rights Act; and in its affirmation of a duty to protect employees and students from known foreseeable conduct.
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  • Employment and Labor Law
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New covid-19 relief legislation amends Bankruptcy Code
George H. Singer
Feb 01, 2021
In response to the continuing crises brought on by the covid-19 pandemic, Congress recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). The amendments to the Bankruptcy Code are briefly summarized in this article.
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  • COVID-19
  • Bankruptcy
  • Features
We all need it at some point: The MSBA’s proposal for family and medical leave at court
Christine B. Courtney
Feb 01, 2021
In the summer of 2020, the MSBA convened a working group of attorneys and judges to draft amendments to various Minnesota rules that would allow attorneys to request a continuance of a court proceeding in the event of the attorneys’ temporary inability to represent the client due to a health condition; the birth or adoption of a child; or the need to care for a spouse, dependent, or parent who has a serious health condition.
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New covid-19 relief legislation amends Bankruptcy Code
George H. Singer
Jan 12, 2021
In response to the continuing crises brought on by the covid-19 pandemic, Congress recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). The amendments to the Bankruptcy Code are briefly summarized in this article.
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  • Bankruptcy
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The Case of the Accidental Landlord: Why Minnesota’s eviction moratorium needs fixing
Joel Van Nurden
Jan 04, 2021
The current eviction moratorium, with all its good intentions, has caused unjust harm to landlords, particularly nonprofessional or “accidental” landlords. The governor should rescind Executive Order 20-79 and either replace it with something similar to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) nationwide eviction moratorium or, better yet, simply let the CDC’s moratorium take effect in Minnesota.
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Click it or zip it: It’s time to rethink the seat-belt gag rule
Michael T. Burke & Brandon D. Meshbesher
Jan 04, 2021
States like California, Wisconsin, New York, Iowa, and Michigan all allow seat belt evidence to be presented to civil juries, and there is no reason that Minnesota cannot or should not do the same.
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  • Personal Injury
Minnesota’s best interest factors should address breastfeeding
Jacquelyn S. Lutz & Linda R. Allen
Jan 04, 2021
The breadth of statutes concerning breastfeeding makes the absence of any reference to breastfeeding in the family law statutes puzzling. Does Minnesota need a statute specifically addressing breastfeeding and custody / parenting time? In short: yes.
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  • Family Law
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Holiday season self-care in the pandemic era
Joan Bibelhausen
Dec 01, 2020
Have you caught yourself beginning to plan for holiday meals, gifts, and traditions, only to stop short? It’s not uncommon to focus on the meaning of our holidays and traditions only when we fall exhausted into the holiday world we endeavored to create. This year? We need to find new ways to observe what matters to us, cope, and perhaps even thrive.
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  • Wellness
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