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Supreme Court Digest: Aug. 23, 2023

Minnesota Lawyer//August 24, 2023

The Supreme Court chamber at the State Capitol

The Minnesota Supreme Court chamber at the State Capitol. (File photo)

Supreme Court Digest: Aug. 23, 2023

Minnesota Lawyer//August 24, 2023



Eminent Domain

Right of Access

Appellant-landowners asserted that they are entitled to compensation for the loss of a right to access to a newly constructed controlled-access highway built across their property. The Supreme Court held that an owner of property abutting a newly constructed controlled-access highway does not have a property right of access that is compensable under Minnesota statutes in a condemnation proceeding. Affirmed.

A22-0314 Wood v. County of Blue Earth (Court of Appeals)


Litigation Financing


This case involved the enforceability of a litigation financing agreement. Appellants sought enforcement of a litigation financing agreement they entered into with respondent. The agreement was originally deemed unenforceable by the District Court and Court of Appeals due to the common-law prohibition on champerty. In a prior appeal, the Supreme Court abolished the prohibition on champerty. Following reversal and remand to the District Court, appellant continued to challenge the enforceability of the agreement on several different grounds, including the agreement’s 60 percent repurchase rate. The courts below found that the repurchase rate violated Minnesota’s usury statute, Minn. Stat. § 334.01, and concluded that the rate, reduced to 8 percent under the usury statute, began to accrue only after the date of the earlier Supreme Court decision.

The Supreme Court held that (1) a repurchase rate in a litigation financing agreement is not subject to Minnesota’s usury law when repayment of the purchase price is contingent upon a recovery in the underlying litigation; (2) remand to the District Court was appropriate to address plaintiff’s challenge to the repurchase rate under the common-law doctrine of unconscionability; and (3) the repurchase rate specified in the litigation financing agreement began to accrue after the agreement was signed, not after the Court’s abolition of the former common-law prohibition on champerty. Reversed and remanded.

A21-1338 Maslowski v. Prospect Funding Partners LLC (Court of Appeals)








Defendant was convicted of felony domestic assault-harm under Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subds. 1(2), 4. On appeal, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the State failed to prove his intent to commit bodily harm beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant also argued that the District Court plainly erred by instructing the jury that he could use reasonable force to resist an “assault against the person” rather than more broadly to resist any “offense against the person.” In a precedential opinion, the Court of Appeals held that sufficient evidence supported defendant’s conviction. But the Court of Appeals concluded that the self-defense jury instruction was erroneous because the use of nonlethal self-defense does not require a person to resist an offense carrying the threat of bodily harm. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals held that the jury instruction error was not plain and affirmed defendant’s conviction.

The Supreme Court held that (1) the phrase “offense against the person” in Minnesota’s nonlethal self-defense statute refers to offenses carrying the threat of bodily harm; and (2) the State presented sufficient evidence to sustain defendant’s conviction for felony domestic assault-harm. Affirmed.

A20-0361 State v. Lampkin (Court of Appeals)



Postconviction Relief

Evidentiary Hearing

At issue in this case was whether the District Court erred when it summarily denied petitioner’s request for postconviction relief. In 2018, petitioner was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. In April 2022, petitioner filed a petition in District Court seeking postconviction relief and an evidentiary hearing, arguing that in his direct appeal, he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of appellate counsel. The District Court denied petitioner’s petition without a hearing.

The Supreme Court held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion by summarily denying petitioner’s petition for postconviction relief because, even if the facts alleged in the petition were proven by a preponderance of the evidence, petitioner was conclusively entitled to no relief. Affirmed.

A22-1483 Woodard v. State (Hennepin County)





Attorney Discipline


Jeremy J. Kaschinske was suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 60 days.

A23-0820 In re Kaschinske



Attorney Regulation


After reviewing a report created by the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Regulation that evaluated Minnesota’s lawyer discipline system and provided recommendations, the Supreme Court adopted some recommendations in part. Recommendations made by the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Regulation that were adopted, in full or in part, or are modified in part and adopted, were referred to the Advisory Committee for consideration of amendments to the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

ADM10-8042, ADM10-8043 Order Regarding Report & Recommendation of Am. Bar Assoc. Standing Cmte. on Prof. Regulation of Minn. Lawyer Discipline Sys.



Professional Responsibility Rules


The Supreme Court established an Advisory Committee on the Rules of Lawyers Professional Responsibility to review the ABA report and the Supreme Court’s recommendations.

ADM10-8043 Order Appointing Advisory Cmte. on R. of Lawyers Prof. Responsibility

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