Heley, Duncan & Melander
The recent results of litigation illustrate the gamut of real estate questions that need to be resolved by a trial. Valerie Sims represented prevailing parties in three disputes about the use of real property and the construction thereon.
One was the well-known case that started out as King’s Cove Marina v. Lambert Construction and Roehl Construction, alleging defective work at the marina. Sims and her client, Roehl, were alone at trial, Lambert having exited the case via a Miller-Shugart release. Roehl was found 7% liable for a $40,000 verdict. After the trial Lambert owed Roehl about $10,000 (costs, disbursements, interest). Pre-trial, Roehl offered $75,000 to settle.
Two cases are on appeal. Vaillancourt v. Galloway Holdings, where Sims represented the defendant, was dismissed. The defendant was the general contractor, and water damage to the property was alleged. The court applied Minn. Stat. sec. 541.051, subd. 1 (a), a two-year statute of limitations which said the time was up in November 2020. Although COVID entered the scene and extended the deadline to April 2021, the case was not served until November of that year.
And in Hintz and Rotter v. Hoese, the plaintiffs lost their case to have a tile drainage system that had once been installed under their property removed. The defendant neighbors, represented by Sims, objected to losing the tile system and alleged that the plaintiff’s action was barred by the reasonable use doctrine that applies to water drainage. That case is on cross-appeal, also on the statute of limitations.
Sims is a dean of the Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota, a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and vice chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association civil trial board. In that role, she urges more lawyers to become certified trial specialists.
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