September 2012 Archives

CapX2020 Eminent Domain

CapX2020 Project CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin to expand the electric transmission grid. CapX2020 will follow the I-94 corridor and will use eminent domain, the taking of private property for the public good, as it is needed. The high voltage lines are expected to be constructed and transmitting electricity by 2014.

Michael LaFountaine Obtains Result Greatly Limiting Damages

Mike LaFountaineMichael LaFountaine started 2012 with a trial in Long Prairie before Todd County Judge Jay Carlson. Mr. LaFountaine represented the driver of a vehicle that was in the passing lane when the vehicle being passed turned left into a driveway. The driver and passenger of the vehicle that was turning left both sued Mr. LaFountaine's client and asked the jury for more than 1.2 million dollars. The jury placed fault on both drivers, but determined that the total damages payable to the Plaintiffs will amount to something between $27,000 and $43,000 for the driver (depending upon post trial motions) and $10,000 for the passenger. 

Favorable Ruling From the Minnesota Supreme Court in Staab v. Diocese of St. Cloud

Mike LaFountaineDyan EbertLaura Moehrle
Quinlivan & Hughes attorneys Michael D. LaFountaine, Dyan Ebert, and Laura Moehrle recently received a favorable ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court in Staab v. Diocese of St. Cloud. The decision, handed down by the Supreme Court on April 18, 2012, holds that a tortfeasor who is 50% or less at fault pays only that percentage-even if the remaining fault was placed on a tortfeasor who was not a party to the action. This is a landmark decision which supports the principle that defendants should only be liable for their own fault and should not be required to pay percentages of fault attributable to others. 

Robert Cunningham Saves Client Approximately $1.8 Million in Taxes

Quinlivan & Hughes tax attorney Robert Cunningham just concluded the 3-year process of representing his client in a tax dispute against the IRS. Mr. Cunningham successfully appealed the client's IRS audit to the U.S. Tax Court, ultimately saving his client approximately $1.8 million in taxes. 

Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) Publishes Booklet on Governmental Immunities for Member Counties Authored by Attorney Ken Bayliss

Kenneth BaylissMr. Bayliss comes by his interest in governmental immunities naturally, having spent the first ten years of his career in the Tort Claims Division and the Employment Law Division of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. Ken's current practice involves litigation concerning government liability, general insurance defense, premises liability, construction accident liability, and business litigation. He is a past chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section and of the law firm's Insurance Defense Group. He is the current chair of the firm's Appellate Practice Group. Quinlivan & Hughes attorney Kenneth Bayliss, long a student of issues relating to governmental immunities, has had a booklet on immunities circulated to local governments. The Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) recently made his booklet, a comprehensive summary of immunities, available to Minnesota local governments. 

Mike LaFountaine Successfully Defends Homeowners in Case Involving Guest's Fall From Terrace

Mike LaFountaineOn May 9, 2012, Quinlivan & Hughes attorney Mike LaFountaine obtained a defense verdict for his clients in a case involving a fall from a terrace. The case was venue in Alexandria, Douglas County, before Judge Ann Carrott. The accident that was the subject of the lawsuit happened on July 25, 2009, when the 33-year-old male Plaintiff fell while on the Defendants' property. The accident happened as Plaintiff was playing with children during a family reunion. As Plaintiff ran from children with squirt guns, he ran through a planting area with shrubs that, according to Plaintiff, obscured a terrace wall and a drop off of approximately ten feet. Plaintiff landed on a concrete patio at the base of the terrace. Plaintiff claimed the terrace wall was unguarded and contained no warnings. Plaintiff also claimed he did not see the terrace wall before running through the shrubs. Violations of various building codes were alleged. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his feet, including heel fractures and ankle injuries requiring the placement of metal hardware. The jury concluded that Plaintiff was 55% at fault and that Defendants were 45% at fault. Because Plaintiff's fault was greater than that of Defendants, Plaintiff recovered nothing. Plaintiff's liability expert was Robert Euteneuer. Defendants' liability expert was Charles Lane. After the verdict the case was voluntarily dismissed by Plaintiff without any appeal in exchange for the Defense's agreement to waive its costs and disbursements.

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