Legal News

Look Boss, No Hands! Minnesota's New Hands Free Driving Law and its Impact on Employers

Beginning on August 1, 2019, Minnesota will join many other states and begin enforcement of a new law that requires hands free operation of a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle. The law recognizes the public safety issue and the fact that technology has eliminated the need to physically hold a cell phone in order to operate it while driving.

Recent Decision Signals Shift In Court's Perception Of What Constitutes Insurer Bad Faith In First-party Actions.

On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals handed down a decision that could have far-ranging impacts for insurance companies. The decision in Peterson v. W. Nat'l Mut. Ins. Co., No. A18-1081, 2019 WL 2332400 (Minn. Ct. App. June 3, 2019), suggests that insurance companies' fears about impacts of the 2008 bad faith statute, Minnesota Stat. § 604.18, which imposes liability on insurers that fail to settle first-party cases in "good faith," may come true. The following are the four main takeaways from this decision. I have also attempted to distill the case down to a few pages in the following sections.

Q&H Seeks Associate Attorney for Insurance Defense and Litigation Practice Group.

Quinlivan & Hughes law firm seeks a dynamic individual to join a growing insurance defense and litigation practice.

The ideal candidate should have 0-5 years of experience in litigation, excellent writing, and drafting skills, and an ability to work in a collaborative team environment. Candidates with specific experience, skills, or interest in medical malpractice defense, employment defense litigation, and automobile defense litigation are preferred. The salary for the position depends on experience.

Quinlivan & Hughes presented the 2019 Leadership Award from Minnesota Women Lawyers.

(ST. CLOUD, Minn.) - Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. was awarded the 2019 Leadership Award from Minnesota Women Lawyers for its efforts to enhance the status, influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

The award was presented to Quinlivan & Hughes for consistent effort to empower and encourage women lawyers to hold leadership positions both within the firm and in outside associations and membership organizations. The firm was also recognized for providing a flexible work environment and building a culture in which attorneys, regardless of gender, empower and uplift one another through encouragement, training, and mentorship.

The Department of Labor Proposed to Significantly Raise the Minimum Salary Requirements for Certain Exempt Employees (Again!)

No, this is not an old article from 2016. But it does revisit a hot topic from just over two years ago that had the business community clambering. As most employers recall, a little over two years ago owners, managers, and human resource personnel were bracing for the Department of Labor's ("DOL") much anticipated revision of overtime rules that were set to affect millions of employees currently classified as exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's Executive, Administrative, or Professional exemptions, commonly referred to as the "white collar exemptions."

Proposed Legislation to Lower the Standard to Prove Sexual Harassment

Minnesota is on the verge of changing the definition of sexual harassment in a way that will lead to more stringent legal responsibility and affect what action the business community needs to take to prevent it from occurring in the workplace.

On February 7, 2019 the Minnesota House of representative's judiciary committee, in a 16-0 vote, sent a bill to the floor that would lower the standard used to prove sexual harassment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). But does legislation deleting reference to an already long established standard to prove sexual harassment simply punt the question of how to determine future liability to the courts?

Schley Becomes Shareholder of Q&H

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Quinlivan & Hughes announced today that Jolene Klocker Schley has been elected a shareholder of the firm.

Originally from St. Cloud, Minnesota, Schley joined Quinlivan & Hughes in 2013 after serving as the Legal/Compliance/Credit Administration Officer at a commercial bank in the Twin Cities.

Charitable Giving and the 2017 Tax Reform Act

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The 2017 Tax Reform Act provided opportunities for individuals and couples who do a little planning to continue to make the most of their charitable giving and save a few tax dollars as well.

One of the biggest changes was that the Tax Reform Act eliminated personal exemptions for individual taxpayers and most deductions in exchange for nearly doubling the standard deduction. The 2018 standard deduction is $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples. Taxpayers who are 65 or older have an extra $1300 of standard deduction. Charitable contributions are still deductible, but most middle-income taxpayers will be better off using the standard deduction.

Supreme Court Holds that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act Applies to All State and Local Governments, Regardless of Size.

State and local government employers, especially those with less than 20 employees, should take note of the following decision by the Supreme Court. On November 6, 2018, in the case of Mount Lemmon Fire District v. Guido, the Supreme Court unanimously held that state and local government employers, regardless of size, must comply with the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").

Prior to this decision, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, that governs Minnesota, was one of four federal circuit courts that held the ADEA did not apply to state entities (including political subdivisions) with fewer than twenty employees. In overturning that interpretation, the Supreme Court found that "the text of the ADEA's definitional provision, also its kinship to the FLSA and differences from Title VII, leave scant room for doubt that state and local governments are 'employer[s]' covered by the ADEA regardless of their size."

8 Ways to Prepare Yourself for Year-End -- 2018

John Wenker

The end of 2018 is fast approaching and every year there are valuable items to consider. Do you have your items in order for year end? Planning today can help you achieve your desired outcomes. We know schedules can be demanding so here are the key items to consider to prepare yourself and your household for the end of the year. Download checklist.

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