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Jun 30, 2016

More Dispatches from the War on Initial Caps

I’ve been known to spend a holiday weekend in a lawn chair, a cold drink in one hand and a good read in the other. This year, I’m planning to enjoy some quality time with a legendary oracle of style —no, not Vogue, but the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, which I’ll call “Sweet 16.” The Chicago Manual of Style began as the in-house style guide of the University of Chicago Pres[...]

Jun 23, 2016

Perspectives: Ali’s death recalls state boxing law lore

“I shook up the world.” Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, after winning heavyweight boxing championship from Sonny Liston (February 25, 1964) The death earlier this month, at age 74, of Muhammad Ali, self-proclaimed and often recognized as “The Greatest,” stirred memories of the life and legacy of the longtime heavyweight boxing champion. Although he never fought professio[...]

Jun 17, 2016

Briefly: What you need to know about new appellate rules

Effective July 1, 2016, Minnesota lawyers will need to master the new amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure.

Jun 9, 2016

All in the Family: Two important changes in family law

Over the last several months, we’ve written about two issues up for debate in the Minnesota Legislature: (1) spousal maintenance modification in the wake of recipient cohabitation; and (2) basic child support parenting expense adjustment reform. For the third time in three years, family law practitioners must change their way of thinking. Child support The 2007 amendments to Minnesota’s [...]

Jun 9, 2016

Quandaries and Quagmires: What to do about subpoena for ex-client’s file?

In 2013, Larry, a solo transactional lawyer, assisted Beyer in purchasing a business from Stella. In 2016, Beyer stops payments to Stella, alleging breach of warranties. Stella sues Beyer. Beyer retains Amy, a litigator. Stella’s counsel, Stanley, serves a subpoena on Larry, for production of his file for Beyer and for his deposition. The subpoena informs Larry of his right to arrangements for p[...]

Jun 2, 2016

Legal Writing Notebook: Friends don’t let friends use malapropisms

Is the door closed? Are we alone? Because honey, I need to tell you something: you just used a malapropism. A malapropism — an inappropriate word — is the written equivalent of the most embarrassing wardrobe malfunction, the most cringeworthy conversational faux pas, the most distracting article of food in the least appealing part of one’s face that can be imagined. Don’t think it’s a[...]

May 26, 2016

Perspectives: Memorial Day stirs Civil War memories

Minnesotans are joining the rest of the nation in celebrating Memorial Day weekend, culminated by the national holiday on Monday, May 30. This year’s celebration marks the 150th anniversary of the event, although it initially was a pale shade of its current complexion. It began as a small gathering of women in Mississippi placing flowers on graves of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War, whi[...]

May 12, 2016

Briefly: When to cite unpublished appellate decisions

You have found a great Minnesota Court of Appeals case supporting your client’s position. Unfortunately, it is unpublished. Or worse, there is a terrible case against your client’s position that the other side and the judge are enamored with, despite its unpublished status. What to do? Much of the confusion about unpublished court of appeals opinions comes from the tension between their non-pr[...]

May 12, 2016

Perspectives: How’s the service? Effective or defective?

“All service ranks the same with God.” Robert Browning, PIPPA Passes (1841) Service of process is generally required to initiate civil litigation in Minnesota. It is usually done by hand-delivery of the summons and complaint personally to a defendant or some suitable person actually living at the person’s abode, or in rare cases, serving by publication. In most instances, personal servi[...]

May 5, 2016

All in the Family: Ruling reiterates broad spectrum of principles

In considering whether to appeal a trial court order, we naturally begin by considering the odds of success. Statistically, most don’t succeed. How about reversal and remand on every issue presented? Rare as a tasty school lunch. But, that’s just what happened in a recent decision of the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Shaw v. Shaw, No. 02-FA-13-193, 2016 WL 1396705 (Minn. Ct. App. April 22, [...]

Apr 28, 2016

Perspectives: Dual defamation duels: abstention and attorney

“And thus he [was] … defamed by every charlatan.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam (1849) [divider] The clash between the First Amendment right of freedom of expression and the commonlaw right to protect one’s reputation and seek vindication for damage is age old, highlighted by the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court more than 50 years ago in the famous case New York Times v.[...]

Apr 28, 2016

Legal Writing Notebook: Spring cleaning for scare quotes

Good morning, everyone! Pop quiz: When is it appropriate to use quotation marks in a sentence? (I’m imagining you all eagerly raising your hands.) When you’re quoting someone’s exact words. Absolutely. That’s a classic. Quotation marks tell the reader that everything inside them was said verbatim by another person. When you’re singling out a word because you want to talk about it a[...]

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