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

By: Chad Snyder

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. 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.

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

By: Stephen P. Laitinen, Esq. and Hilary J. Loynes, Esq.

The cost of health care continues to rise and, along with it, premiums are soaring. Over the past decade, health care premiums have more than doubled, and the average worker’s contributions more than tripled. 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. 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. 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.” 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.

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William Mitchell Journal of Law & Practice

The mission of the William Mitchell Journal of Law & Practice is to disseminate insightful articles and other scholarly writings on the forefront of legal practice. 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 new journal helpful in both your practice, and continuing legal education.

–The Editorial Staff

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

By: Leslie Lienemann and Justin Cummins

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”). 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. 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.

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Women’s Rights in Islam Regarding Marriage and Divorce

By: Imani Jaafar-Mohammad, Esq. and Charlie Lehmann

There are many misconceptions surrounding women’s rights in Islam. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on the basic rights of women in Islam in the context of marriage and divorce. This article is only to be viewed as a basic outline of women’s rights in Islam regarding marriage and divorce. Muslim clients’ situations will vary greatly depending on what Islamic School of Thought (Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, and Shafi) they follow, whether they are Sunni or Shiite, their cultural traditions, and a variety of other factors.

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Failure to Allocate? Nobody Pays: Using Miller Shugart Settlements In Cases of Questionable Insurance Coverage

By: Judge Jerome Abrams

The central concept behind insurance in general, and liability insurance in particular, is risk transfer. The simple nature of paying some amount of money in advance of a future event, which could result in a greater loss, provides some measure of economic security. However, there can be many uncertainties involved in risk transfer through insurance.

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Defamation in Employment Investigations: Bahr v. Boise Cascade Corporation and O’Donnell v. City of Buffalo

By: Kristin Berger Parker and Ellen G. Sampson

This paper looks at the kinds of statements that can be considered defamatory, the chilling effect that the tort of defamation has on the communication of important information, and also examines the similarities and distinctions between public and private defamation, focusing on the speech interests at hand. It then discusses the privilege defenses that courts have developed to alleviate the chilling effect of the tort, both in the public and private contexts. Finally, this paper considers how defamation and the privileges operate in the employment context.

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