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The POWER 30: Jim Carey

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023

Jim Carey

Jim Carey, SiebenCarey

The POWER 30: Jim Carey

Minnesota Lawyer//June 22, 2023


Seventy years ago John VonHoltum and Clint Grose started a law firm in Worthington with a few lawyers. They moved to Bloomington and hired Harry Sieben.

Sieben still has his first retention letter, said James (Jim) Carey, managing partner of what is now known as SiebenCarey. In 1977 the U.S. Supreme Court decided Bates v. Arizona, and you know what happened next. Sieben was the first lawyer to advertise in Minnesota, and at the time was serving  in the Minnesota legislature.

Carey started working for Sieben in 1983, after his father and uncle, a judge and lawyer, respectively, talked him into law school.

The firm has a legacy that it still displays, starting with a close integration with labor movements, which led to worker safety issues and personal injury, he said. “It sounds like a mantra but it’s all true,” said Carey.

Today the firm is a full-service injury firm, including four lawyers who practice in workers’ compensation.

Minnesota is a fairly liberal state on personal injury cases. “But our wrongful death statute is horribly conservative. It’s financially driven,” Carey said. If a person is injured and later dies as a result, the claim for the damages from the injury do not survive.

House File 1019 would change that, Carey said. The bill provides that a claim  would survive the death to compensate certain heirs, said Carey, who tried to get such a bill passed in 2010-2011, when he was president of the Minnesota Association for Justice.

Litigation also may result in changes to dangerous conditions. Carey has settled a case for the deaths of five people and injuries to more when the Cedar High public housing caught fire in 2019. It was reported at the time that the 25-story building was not equipped with sprinklers. The settlement is confidential.

“Changes were made,” Carey said. The settlement under the circumstances was very fair, he said, and the participants were “open-hearted and ethical.”


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