Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A.
1740 West St. Germain Street | St Cloud, MN 56301
:  (320) 251-1414 | Fax:  (320) 251-1415
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Quinlivan & Hughes

Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. is a St. Cloud, MN law firm with over 90 years of experience. We are organized as a professional association consisting of 20 attorneys.

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Posted by on in Insurance Law

Wednesday, August 5th the Minnesota Supreme Court handed down a decision providing UIM "Excess Insurance Coverage" — UIM coverage beyond that provided by an occupied vehicle's UIM insurance.

To read the opinion, please Click Here.

Blog posted from Saint Cloud, MN, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Government Law

Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.

We are a successful law firm because we come from a long line of highly competent attorneys of exceptional character who were willing to step outside their comfort zone. We are committed to continuing this tradition by adding a talented plaintiff’s personal injury and workers compensation attorney to grow our existing practice.

If you are sharp and have a strong base of legal experience; if you have a drive for your career, and passions in life that have absolutely nothing to do with work; if you have a competitive spirit, experience (but not comfort) with failure; if you are deeply committed to rooting and growing your practice in this community; and, most importantly, if you are willing to be courageous – we would like to meet you.

Applicants with 5+ years of experience in personal injury/workers compensation requested. Candidates with an existing practice preferred. To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter and references to our human resource administrator, Sarah Kosel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. If you already have your dream job, please pass this information along to someone whose skills you covet.

Blog posted from Saint Cloud, MN, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Insurance Defense

Kenneth BaylissQuinlivan attorney Kenneth Bayliss successfully defended an appeal in the case of Klockmann v. County of Le Sueur, a decision of the Minnesota Court of Appeals handed down on June 22, 2015.

The case involved landowners’ claim that the county board’s award of a conditional use permit was improper because it reversed an earlier decision. The landowners also contended that the decision was not supported by sufficient evidence and that the ordinance did not permit the use at issue. The Court of Appeals affirmed the county board on all grounds. It held that the county ordinance directly permitted the type of use at issue; that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the board’s decision; and that the board had the inherent right to revisit an earlier decision based on the presentation of additional evidence.

Blog posted from Saint Cloud, MN, USA View larger map
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Posted by on in Condemnation/Eminent Domain

Utility Companies Must “Buy the Farm”

michael rajkowski  Rachael Holthaus
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Posted by on in Professional Liability

john sullivan

Quinlivan & Hughes P.A. is pleased to announce our newest associate attorney, John A. Sullivan.  John was raised in the St. Cloud area. He received his B.A. from St. John’s University in 2008 and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2014.  While in law school, John interned in federal court with the Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz. He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar and joined the firm as an associate in October 2014. John practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation, medical malpractice defense and insurance defense.

Prior to joining Quinlivan & Hughes, John worked for the Minnesota Twins and was a writer for the Washington Nationals
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Posted by on in Appeals
The Minnesota Supreme Court issued recently its decision in Staab v. Diocese of St. Cloud, holding that a defendant who is found to be 50% or less at fault cannot be ordered to pay more than its fair share of the total damages award. 
In this case, a jury found the Defendant Diocese 50% at fault for the Plaintiff’s injuries. The jury also found the Plaintiff’s husband was 50% at fault, even though he was not a party to the lawsuit. Plaintiff argued the Diocese should be forced to pay 100% of the damages award under Minnesota’s “reallocation” statute, arguing the judgment against the non-party husband was “uncollectible.” Minn. Stat. Sec. 604.02 subd. (2). The Diocese argued it was severally, but not jointly, liable, and therefore could not be forced to pay more than its fair share (50%), regardless of whether the remainder of the judgment was collectible from the plaintiff’s husband.  The Minnesota Supreme Court agreed with the Diocese. A full copy of the court’s opinion can be found here.
How this decision affects claim handling / evaluation: An at fault defendant who is found to be 50% or less at fault will only be required to pay in proportion to his or her percentage of fault.  This is true regardless of whether the other tortfeasors are parties to the lawsuit.  If you have a minimally (50% or less) at fault insured, your exposure for damages will be limited to the insured’s percentage of fault.  If, however, the insured is 51% or more at fault, the insured will be held “jointly liable” and could be responsible for up to 100% of the verdict.
The Diocese of St. Cloud was represented by Dyan Ebert, Laura Moehrle and Mike LaFountaine of Quinlivan & Hughes.  If you have any questions about this decision, please give us a call: (320) 251-1414 or reach us by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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Posted by on in Employment Law for Employers
Read the latest article written by attorney Julie Fisk in the September/October Business Central magazine HERE.

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Posted by on in Insurance Defense

dyan ebert

Shareholder Dyan J. Ebert  was elected President of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (“MDLA”) at its annual meeting held in conjunction with the Association’s Trial Techniques Seminar on August 15, 2014.  The MDLA has over 750 members and is dedicated to serving the needs of lawyers engaged primarily in the defense and trial of civil disputes.  In addition to becoming the MDLA President, Dyan also holds leadership positions in the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Seventh District Bar Association.  Dyan’s practice is focused on employment and governmental liability, insurance coverage and general casualty law.  
Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. has a long history with the MDLA. Richard Quinlivan was a co-founder and first President of the Association (1974-75).  Firm members Michael J. Ford (1992-93) and Steven S. Schwegman (2004-05) have also served as MDLA Presidents.
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Posted by on in Medical Malpractice Defense

steven schwegman

Steve Schwegman  served on the faculty at the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) 42nd Annual Trial Academy at the prestigious Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, CA. 

The IADC Trial Academy is one of the oldest and most respected programs for developing trial advocacy skills. The seven-day intensive program blends faculty instruction and demonstration with individual student participation.


The faculty consists of leading defense trial lawyers selected on a national basis from different regions of the country. Each faculty member is assigned to a group of five to seven students which allows for individualized attention and instruction. There were 98 student/lawyers from around the country as well as Brazil and Canada. 

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Posted by on in Employment Law for Employers
Julie Fisk  Rachael Holthaus
Read the latest article written by attorneys Julie Fisk and Rachael Holthaus in the July/August Business Central magazine HERE.
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Posted by on in Uncategorized

laura moehrle

Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. is pleased to announce Laura A. Moehrle has been elected shareholder of the firm, effective January 1, 2014.  

Laura practices primarily in the area of insurance defense litigation, including automobile liability and professional liability and also practices in the areas of premises liability, employment law and appellate law. She is a frequent presenter on issues related to automobile and professional liability.  Laura was born and raised in St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Posted by on in Estate Planning

john wenker
by: John Wenker, Attorney at Law

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Posted by on in Government Law


On December 5, 2013, the Minnesota District Court entered summary judgment for Quinlivan & Hughes client Lake County on a $5 million claim related to the sale of county revenue bonds. ORIX Public Finance, LLC, a Texas-based investment group, sued Lake County when Lake County could not perform on a bond purchase agreement.

The case arose out of Lake County’s attempt to provide broadband internet services to its residents. The County obtained a $66 million loan and grant from the Rural Utility Service (“RUS”) a federal agency, on the condition that it provide $3.5 million in matching funds—funds that would cover costs the federal loan and grant could not cover. The County planned to provide the matching funds by selling revenue bonds. The bond purchase agreement provided that the County would sell ORIX $5.6 million in revenue bonds at a very high (15%) interest rate.

As it turned out, the County could not sell the bonds and provide the matching funds in this manner because the RUS would not approve the financing on the terms stated in the bond purchase agreement. When the RUS would not approve the financing, the County decided to fund the match by taking money from its own reserves. ORIX then sued, claiming approximately $5 million in damages.

The case presented some interesting challenges. Ordinarily, the bond purchase agreement would contain language that would allow the County to back out of the agreement if the federal funds were not available. But a drafting error made this argument difficult. Additionally, the RUS, wanting to stay out of the fray, refused to state its position in writing or allow its employees to give depositions, a prerogative allowed by federal law.

The key to the defense of the case was the doctrine of “frustration of purpose,” which applies when the fundamental purpose of a transaction has been frustrated so as to excuse a party from performing a contract. Lake County argued that there was no purpose to the bond transaction, given that without the federal funds there was no need for matching funds because there was nothing to match. ORIX argued that the RUS had never formally rejected the bond purchase agreement and that it was therefore entitled to $5 million in damages.

Alain Baudry and Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand LLP associated with Quinlivan & Hughes on the briefing. Quinlivan & Hughes attorney Kenneth Bayliss argued the case before Minnesota District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis on October 9.

Judge Davis’s opinion found that the case was one where the doctrine of frustration of purpose applied. The decision first rejected ORIX’s assertion that witness statements about what RUS representatives said in a key phone conference were hearsay. The court noted that the RUS statements about its rejection of the revenue bond financing were not hearsay, but “verbal acts” or “words of independent legal significance.” The court went on to find that even if the statements were hearsay they would be admissible hearsay.

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Posted by on in Workers' Compensation

thomas christensonFarmers sometimes hire on farmhands or laborers when their operations grow. However, busy farmers may not consider the potential need for workers’ compensation insurance coverage until someone gets hurt and medical bills, disability payments and other forms of compensation must be paid. Some may be surprised especially if the farmer hasn’t needed to carry worker’s compensation coverage in the past because only family members were working on the farm.

When things begin to change in your farm operation, review your insurance policies. A farm liability insurance policy will not cover injuries to a farm laborer who meets the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation statutory definition of “employee.” If a farm laborer sustains a work-related injury and the farmer has no Worker’s Compensation coverage, the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry (Special Compensation Fund) (“MN DOLI – SCF”) may pay the workers’ compensation benefits for the injured laborer and seek reimbursement directly from the farmer. The  MN-DOLI & SCF may also seek to impose penalties on the farmer for failure to have workers’ compensation insurance in place at the time the employee was injured. Minnesota statutes require qualified employers to purchase worker’s compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Even a farmer is considered a qualified employer if the farming operation meets certain criteria.

If all employees on a farm earn less than $8,000 per calendar year, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation scheme doesn’t require the farmer to carry worker’s compensation insurance. According to Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd.1(b), the Worker’s Compensation Act doesn’t apply to persons employed by a “family farm” as defined by Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd.11(a)(1-2)(2010). However, if a farmer hires farmhands or laborers who earn (in aggregate) more than $8,000 annually, the farmer is required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. Essentially, farmers are allowed one year to begin worker’s compensation coverage once they employ qualified farm laborers making more than a total of $8,000 in a calendar year.

A recent case involved a family farmer who wanted to cut back his hours on the farm. He hired a farm hand to assist his son in running the crop farming operation. During harvest, a piece of equipment broke down. While driving back to the farm to get another machine, the truck that the farmer, farmer’s cousin and the farm hand were riding in lost control and went off the road, causing all three serious injuries. The farmer didn’t have worker’s compensation insurance in place, and was a workers’ compensation claim was brought for medical expenses and damages sustained by the farmhand. In a Worker’s Compensation Court of Appeals decision, the WCCA held that the farmer was not required to carry such insurance as it was the first year he had hired a farm worker. The farmer avoided paying penalties and damages that would have been in the six figure range.

No one expects bad things to happen on their family farm, and certainly nobody is happy when they do. Be careful to check whether you need to add worker’s compensation insurance coverage when hiring farmhand or laborer. You may avoid unnecessary fees, expenses and penalties imposed by the state. 

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

csb blazers logo

The First Annual Quinlivan & Hughes Tip-Off Tournament will be held Friday November 15th and Saturday November 16th in Claire Lynch Gymnasium at the College of St. Benedict.  Quinlivan & Hughes is a proud sponsor of Blazer athletics and wishes all players and coaches the very best in 2013-2014!
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Posted by on in Workers' Compensation
thomas christenson
Quinlivan & Hughes attorney Thomas J. Christenson has more than 30 years of workers' compensation experience.  He invites you to test your Minnesota Workers' Compensation Law knowledge below.
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Posted by on in Insurance Defense

cally kjellberg

Quinlivan & Hughes’ attorney Cally Kjellberg-Nelson is the recipient of the 2013 Deb Oberlander Award from the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA).  The award, created in memory of MDLA’s former executive director who passed away in 2008, recognizes the professionalism, service, and contribution to excellence in the practice of law by a new lawyer. Cally served as  the Vice Co-Chair of the MDLA’s New Defense Lawyers Group (2011–2012) and Co-Chair (2012-2013).  Cally has also been involved with the Mid-Winter Conference Planning Committee (2012 and 2013), as well as with the Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration held in conjunction with the Trial Techniques Seminar and the Trial Academy Planning Committee (2013).  Cally is published in Minnesota Defense Magazine, "Laches, A Defense That Is Alive and Well in Minnesota", Minnesota Defense Magazine | Spring 2010, and recently presented at the 2013 MDLA Trial Techniques Seminar on the recently amended Rules of Civil Procedure.

In addition to her MDLA activities, Cally has also been active in the Stearns/Benton Bar Association, the Seventh District Bar Association, and the Minnesota State Bar Association.  She also serves as the Central Chapter Liaison  to the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association (2012-2014). 


We congratulate Cally on this well-deserved honor!

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Posted by on in Uncategorized
steven schwegmandyan ebertjames mcalpine
Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. would like to congratulate shareholders Steven R. Schwegman and Dyan J. Ebert on their selection as 2013 Minnesota Super Lawyers and shareholder James S. McAlpine on his selection as a 2013 Minnesota Rising Star.  
Comprised by Thomson Reuters, the Minnesota Super Lawyer list recognizes the top 5% of lawyers in the state while the Rising Star list recognizes the top 2.5% of lawyers in the state under age 40.
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Posted by on in Condemnation/Eminent Domain

michael rajkowskiQuinlivan & Hughes attorney Michael Rajkowski successfully argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court in the CapX2020 high-voltage transmission line matter that landowners are entitled to relocation costs and minimum compensation.  The decision overturns a Court of Appeals decision and affirms the ruling by Stearns County District Court Judge Frank Kundrat.  

The case involves landowners who invoked the Buy the Farm statute, which allows homeowners and farmers to force a utility to purchase their entire property at fair market value rather than selling an easement to the utility.  Judge Kundrat previously ruled that the homeowners who invoked the Buy the Farm statute were entitled to relocation costs and minimum compensation. A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals, however, reversed that decision, in a 2-1 vote.  Court of Appeals Judge Edward Cleary dissented, writing that the landowners essentially were forced from their property by an involuntary taking by CapX and that they were entitled to the compensation and relocation costs.

The Supreme Court decision overturned that Court of Appeals decision agreeing with Judge Cleary's dissent.  The Supreme Court's decision can be found .

DSC00576Has the government taken a condemnation / eminent domain action against you?  Know your rights and protect your inventment.  Contact the Quinlivan & Hughes Condemnation and Eminent Domain team today!

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Posted by on in Insurance Defense

Rachael Holthaus

Rachael Holthaus was born and raised in the St. Cloud area. She was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in May 2013 and joined the firm as an associate at that time. She received her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Business Administration with a Minor in Spanish) in 2009 and her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in 2013.  While in law school, Rachael worked as a law clerk at Acumen Legal Advisors, PLLC where she assisted in business law and real estate matters.  She also externed at Hennepin County District Court and was a research assistant for Professor John O. Sonsteng.  Rachael was also involved in William Mitchell's moot court competition where she competed in the New York Bar Association National Competition.


Tagged in: Rachael Holthaus
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