The official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association


The Guns Aren’t Illegal. But Sometimes the Owners Are.

Understanding Minnesota's private-transfer exception suggests the best path to reducing gun violence. Last October, Kanye West was asked during a meeting with President Trump and former NFL legend Jim Brown how to fix the gun violence problem in Chicago. Kanye responded by saying, “The problem is illegal guns. Illegal guns is the problem, not legal guns. We have the right to bear arms.  BY AARON EDWARD BROWN


Don’t Be The Next Lunds & Byerlys: Lessons learned from the Lunds shareholder litigation

On March 27, 2019, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied review in the Lunds litigation that spanned more than four years and resulted in the largest reported fair value buyout award to a minority shareholder in Minnesota under Minn. Stat. §302A.751 (Section 751). The history leading to the litigation, the litigation itself, and the courts’ decisions in the case offer many important lessons for all private company business owners, business lawyers, and business litigators. BY JANEL DRESSEN



More Than a Rule of Thumb: Your smartphone and the 5th Amendment

According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. These devices employ encryption technology when not in use, and require a user’s passcode or other biometric feature to unlock them. Encryption, though a blessing for domestic harmony, poses significant barriers to law enforcement investigations. BY ADAM T. JOHNSON 


Lessor Beware

Courts are increasingly willing to hold commercial landlords liable for their tenants’ trademark infringement. Recent federal court decisions reflect a trend in favor of expanded liability for commercial landlords premised upon the unlawful conduct of their tenants. The theory of liability applied against landlords, known as “contributory” liability, derives from the federal trademark laws, 15 U.S.C. §1051, et seq. (the Lanham Act).  BY BRYAN HUNTINGTON

Colleague Corner
Meet Jessie Nicholson: 'Never forget where you came from'

Jessie has served as the chief executive officer of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) since 2007 after having been employed as a staff attorney in various practice areas and in an administrative capacity under SMRLS’s pioneer director, Bruce Beneke. She has devoted her entire legal career, since 1985, in service to the disadvantaged in addressing their critical civil legal needs.

President's Page
It was a very good year

During the years leading up to my time as president of the MSBA, several people asked me to describe my plan for the year. Since I wasn’t sure, and, because I knew from talking to past presidents that any plan can be derailed by events, I told them I needed to wait and see. As my term approached, events dictated my plan.

Professional Responsibility 
Business transactions with clients

Lawyers frequently have an opportunity to do business with clients beyond the straightforward monetary payment for legal services rendered. Sometimes clients wish to offer their lawyer an ownership interest in a start-up business as payment for some or all of the legal services provided, or lawyers wish to acquire an interest in property owned by the client to secure payment for future legal fees.

Law & Technology
“Papers and effects” in a digital age, pt II

Modern information technologies are testing the United States Constitution’s protection against government intrusion. In our article “‘Papers and effects’ in a digital age,” published here in January 2019, we looked at the impact of smartphones and the challenges they pose for search warrants and government investigators.

New Lawyers
Eminent Domain: Damages to contiguous tracts in Minnesota

Eminent domain is an “awesome” power: the ability of the state, or its delegates, to take an individual’s property without that individual’s consent. Under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions, that “awesome” power comes with a corresponding responsibility: to pay “just compensation” to the owner of the property.


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