Mar
26

Don’t let an insurer take your grain. An insurer’s duty of good faith and fair dealing explained

In 2009, archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world’s oldest known granary, a building in which grain and other foods are stored for extended periods. Located just off the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan, researchers believe this granary to be more than 11,000 years-old (for perspective, 11,000 years ago sabre-tooth tigers and wooly mammoths still roamed the Midwest). 

The development of granaries in the ancient world mark what is perhaps the greatest evolutionary shifts in human history. Before the development of granaries, people were nomadic; moving from place to place...

Feb
23

Did the State of Minnesota Change your Business Structure without You? Minnesota‘s Newly Implemented Limited Liability Company Statutes (Chapters 322B & 322C)

Many small and medium-sized business owners may not be aware, but as of January 1, 2018, Minnesota changed its laws governing various aspects of business operations for limited liability companies (LLCs) in Minnesota (formerly Chapter 322B, now 322C). The changes have been on the books for some time, and received some heightened coverage late last year, but many may still be unfamiliar with the new laws. Minnesota largely enacted the new system to bring the State more in line with the majority approach in the US. Depending on how your business is organized, this change may have either...

Apr
8

How the Naughty Employee Is the Employer's Problem

An employee in Minnesota, acting in good faith and within the scope of the employee’s work, is normally protected from direct civil liability by his or her employer through what is typically referred to as indemnification. Minnesota lays out this protection in statute at section 181.970 – Employee Indemnification. It typically covers all damages, penalties, and fines. You can find the statute here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=181.970.

At its heart this law states that an employer, not the employee, is responsible for damages resulting from the conduct of the employee on the...

Feb
21

Forcing a Contractor to File a Mechanic’s Lien Often Makes for Poor Negotiation Strategy

Various news outlets recently have been reporting on yet another story involving President-elect Donald Trump (big surprise there). Luckily this story was not a political one, was not unverified, and touches on an important issue concerning mechanic’s liens in construction law.

The basic story is that at least three contractors have filed mechanic’s liens against the Trump International Hotel totaling at $5 million dollars in unpaid labor and materials (see, for instance,...

Sep
28

Calculating Wages Not Paid: Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo

In a decision earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that employees proceeding together as a putative class, or as a collective for claims under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), can demonstrate commonality through statistical evidence that is not particular to the plaintiffs and events at issue. The decision in the case, Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo et al., 765 F.3d 791 (2016)[1] dealt with Tyson employees who stated that their employer failed to compensate them for time putting on and taking off protective gear required for that work. They claimed that...

Apr
9

Initiating Minnesota Wage Claims

The vast majority of employers pay employees on time and using proper calculations. Of course, problems can and do arise in this area. When an employer fails to pay, or calculates pay incorrectly, the consequences can be rather severe if the employer does not take quick action to correct the problem. This post will briefly outline a few of the most common ways an employee may initiate wage claims against an employer in Minnesota.

Informal Notice and Demand for Wages

For a terminated or laid-off employee, wages earned at the time of discharge are immediately due to an employee upon demand....

Dec
27

Shifting Responsibility through Use of Independent Contractors versus Employees

Mainstream media has recently focused a lot of attention on businesses that utilize independent contractors (think Uber, Lyft, or AirBnB). This has even gone so far as to lead some to speculate that traditional employment may be in jeopardy. While this is a significant exaggeration, the overuse of the independent contractor label is very real.

The use of independent contractors by businesses fits much better, or at least more cleanly, in some business models than others (see Uber’s particular, recent legal troubles for an example). The traditional use of independent contractors, often...

Dec
27

Are Owner/Employees Able to Maintain Discrimination Claims Against the Company?

Are Owner/Employees Able to Maintain Discrimination Claims Against the Company?

According to a recent decision by the Seventh Circuit, the answer to the question above is more or less a simple “no.” The case at issue is Bluestein v. Central Wisc. Anesthesiology. The facts concern a medical professional (Bluestein) who, after a period of employment, became a shareholder and voting board member for the Defendant company. After suffering a severe injury, Bluestein requested an indefinite leave of absence and the company demanded her resignation, stating that they would “terminate her...

Jan
20

TIPS WHEN SELLING YOUR CAR

Whether it’s for a junker that is no longer worth the effort, to get a better value than a trade-in, or for any other reason, at some point in their lives many people will need to sell a vehicle to someone through a private, third party sale. This type of transaction is not without risk, however. It is not entirely uncommon for someone to sue a prior vehicle owner after an accident where a prior sale was not properly transacted.

So, if you are going to sell the car on your own, there are several important points you need to keep in mind to protect yourself in the event something goes...

Dec
8

Horrible Bosses

Everyone has either had one or heard the horror stories. Dealing with a supervisor or manager who yells, swears, and otherwise acts in a completely disrespectful manner towards employees can be traumatizing and have a substantial effect on morale, stress and anxiety levels, and even health. Given how severe the damage can be to the employee, does this mean the employee can sue and recover for this behavior?

At least in the Eighth Circuit, the answer is generally “no.” Most often, regardless of how rude and offensive the conduct of a supervisor or manager, as long as the conduct is not...

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