The Theory and Application of Equal Protection: Developments in the Right to Counsel

5 Wm. Mitchell J.L. & Prac. 1

By: Eric Wolf[Y]

1.         Introduction

Surprising, perhaps, to some, but apparently true: economic inequality itself, as distinguished from absolute poverty, tends to increase the rates of crime and social unrest. James Madison asserted as much in Federalist 10, writing that “the various and unequal distribution of property” is “the most common and durable source” of conflict,[1] and modern social science supports the idea. Inequality is correlated most strongly with homicide, but also with rape, child abuse, robbery, and various other crimes and social ills.[2] Continue reading

Cargill v. Ace American Ins. Co.: The Minnesota Supreme Court Reminds Us Of The Value of Every 2-Year-Old’s Favorite Question

4 Wm. Mitchell J. L. & P. 6

By: Chad Snyder[Y]

Why.

That, I learned in one of the more productive hours of my law school experience, is the answer any lawyer should be ready to give in support of any legal argument.[1] And, as one of my fellow students learned the hard way in one of those hard-to-watch Socratic moments, “because another case says so” is not always or even often a good enough  “why.” Common law, by its nature, evolves. So it is not enough to rest on the argument that a court should apply your proposed rule because it happens to be the rule that has been applied before. A lawyer making an argument or, though my professor did not say so, a judge issuing a decision, should be able to articulate a reason the legal rule she advocates should be adopted or maintained, and why it functions better than the alternative or alternatives. Continue reading

Swanson v. Brewster: Are the Minnesota Courts Reforming the Tort System?

4 Wm. Mitchell J. L. & P. 5
By: Stephen P. Laitinen, Esq. and Hilary J. Loynes, Esq.[Y]

The cost of health care continues to rise and, along with it, premiums are soaring.[1]  Over the past decade, health care premiums have more than doubled, and the average worker’s contributions more than tripled.[2]  These increases are partly attributable to the rising number of uninsured Americans.  During the chief tort reform movement in 1986, in response to the growing cost of insurance, the Minnesota legislature at least in part abrogated the common law collateral source rule.[3]  This legislation provided that a defendant could, in certain instances, take an off-set on his or her damages for amounts paid to the plaintiff related to the injury.[4]  In interpreting this legislation amidst the backdrop of the current health care environment, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently concluded that insurance companies do not have to pay an injured party amounts that she received from a “collateral source.”[5]  In particular, it held that the amount negotiated by the plaintiff’s health insurance company for the plaintiff’s care was a collateral source, as defined by Minnesota Statute § 548.251, and thus deductible under the statute.[6] Continue reading

William Mitchell Journal of Law & Practice

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Welcome to the William Mitchell Journal of Law & Practice

The mission of the William Mitchell Journal of Law & Practice is to publish insightful articles and other scholarly writings on the forefront of legal practice in Minnesota. The Journal is committed to expressing how the impact of current legislation and recent court decisions affects the practice of law, and to presenting the practitioner’s views about how current legislation and recent court decisions may affect their practice of law.

We hope you find this journal helpful in both your practice and continuing legal education.

–The Editorial Staff

The Promise of the Minnesota Human Rights Act Denied: Krueger v. Zeman Construction Company

4 Wm. Mitchell J. L. & P. 4
By: Leslie Lienemann and Justin Cummins[Y]

In a case of first impression, the Minnesota Supreme Court has held that a woman who experienced sexual harassment while performing according to the terms of a contract was not protected by the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”).[1] The case was brought by business owner Pamela Krueger and her corporation, Diamond Dust Contracting, after Krueger was sexually harassed by employees of Zeman Construction Company, a business with which Diamond Dust Contracting had a contract.[2] The Minnesota Supreme Court held that only Diamond Dust Contracting, and not Krueger, could sue for harassment because only Diamond Dust Contracting was a signatory to the business contract with Zeman Construction Company.[3] Continue reading

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