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The POWER 30: William R. Skolnick

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022//

William Skolnick, Skolnick and Bardwell, P.A.

William Skolnick, Skolnick and Bardwell, P.A.

The POWER 30: William R. Skolnick

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022//

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When Tom and Cindy Redmond bought property on Lake Minnetonka, tore down the old house and built a new $18 million property, they got all the permissions from the city. The neighbors on each side didn’t object. But when the house was nearly complete, they decided it was too close to the lake. They attempted to persuade a court to modify the house, move it or tear it down.

The court declined, but the question of a violation of Minnesota Environmental Rights Act was not resolved. It’s in litigation, but the Redmonds have a solid laches defense, said their lawyer, William Skolnick.

A garage door is also at issue. The homeowners share a driveway into the lots. Redmond owns land across the driveway where he built (with city approval) a garage into the side of a hill. The neighbors think the garage is also too big and the door is too unattractive. One neighbor said in a deposition that she cries every time she sees the garage door.

Because it involves family homes, the dispute bears a passing resemblance to one of Skolnick’s areas of practice, which is post-divorce fraud cases emanating from lies told during the dissolution process.

There are some things people getting a divorce should not do: lie about their income, even when they’ve been lying about it throughout the marriage; lie about the value of a company they own; and, after lying about the company, sell it and have a newspaper report the price that is about five times the amount they represented to their spouses.

Skolnick demonstrated that the husband had committed a fraud upon the court and brought an independent action for damages after the divorce, including the husband’s law firm.

That case was followed by a case involving The Tile Shop. A year after the divorce, the ex-wife received a letter from an employee telling her she had been cheated. The ex-wife sued not only her husband but also her husband’s lawyer. That case settled.

Those cases were successful because of in-depth discovery, Skolnick said. He advocates direct communication with witnesses. “How can you not have that conversation?”

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