Thull v. Techtronic: The Jury Reached a Verdict (for the Defense).

Ryobi 10 inch Thull v. Techtronic: The Jury Reached a Verdict (for the Defense).Minnesota Litigator has followed the Thull v. Table Saw manufacturer litigation for a while now.

In fact, this lawsuit is attracting attention in far-away places for a while now.

Here are the Court’s final jury instructions.

How much do jury instructions matter? How much do they influence juror decision making? Some studies have suggested they matter little. Assuming they do matter, do these instructions nudge the fact-finder one way or the other way? We will never know for sure. Here is the verdict.

Mayo v. Cockerill: More Bad Optics

Light dispersion of a mercury vapor lamp with a flint glass prism IPNr°0125 245x300 Mayo v. Cockerill: More Bad OpticsCredit the Rochester Post-Bulletin reporter Jeff Kiger for this story from Olmsted County (and thanks ELG for cluing me in!).

Dr. Franklin Cockerill got all choked up and teary about leaving Mayo Collaborative Services (“MCS”) after 30 years with Mayo and talked about retiring to help his elderly mother manage the family business in Nebraska.

The next day, Dr. Cockerill started work with Quest Diagnostics, Inc., a direct competitor of MCS. “I will be turning my attention to my family’s businesses and philanthropic efforts in my home state of Nebraska,” the doctor told his beloved MCS colleagues. Quest is headquartered in New Jersey, not Nebraska. It is not a Cockerill family business. It does not appear that Dr. Cockerill’s involvement with Quest is philanthropic.

This is a bad way to start off defending a lawsuit in which you are sued for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and theft of trade secrets. Assuming the allegations in the complaint are true, you start the case with an undeniable act of intentional dishonesty.

Query whether Dr. Cockerill and/or Quest sought legal advice as they planned the doctor’s “onboarding.” If so, did they disobey their lawyers’ advice or did they get awful advice?

A New Front Opens for the Embattled Superior Edge of Mankato…

Light dispersion of a mercury vapor lamp with a flint glass prism IPNr°0125 245x300 A New Front Opens for the Embattled Superior Edge of Mankato...Previously on Minnesota Litigator, we have covered the battle between Superior Edge, Inc. (“SEI”) and Monsanto (here, linked, is SEI’s complaint and U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim’s (D. Minn.) denial in large part of SEI’s motion to dismiss).

Now SEI will be dealing with a new case brought by Mr. Daniel Ochylski in which Mr. Ochylski alleges that SEI walked away with $100,000 of his money, this one pending before U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen (D. Minn.).

Not clear what to make of this but the optics are not good…

Kate Mackinnon, ERISAdvocate, Wins on Minnesota Supreme Court Review of Larson

Katherine Mackinnon 269x300 Kate Mackinnon, ERISAdvocate, Wins on Minnesota Supreme Court Review of Larson

Katherine L. MacKinnon

Update (October 22, 2014):  Congratulations to Katherine Mackinnon on the (partial) win! “I am so excited right now, I could launch into the stratosphere,” Mackinnon tells me. This is a big win for Mackinnon, her client, and all Minnesota insureds.

Update (February 4, 2014): Is it possible that a person might forget about some doctor’s visit and fail to disclose it in a life insurance application?  If, soon thereafter, he dies of some wholly unrelated cause, is it fair that the insurance company can rescind the policy based on the decedent’s “misrepresentation and/or omission”?  How about if the decedent authorized the life insurance company access to all of his medical records but a third-party health care record provider omitted records that would have put the life insurer on notice of the doctor’s visit that the decedent failed to disclose?  No claim for negligence against the record provider?

Kate Mackinnon discussed this case nearly a year ago in her Minnesota Litigator profile as, perhaps, both the best case and the worst case of her long and distinguished career (see below).  This past week, the Minnesota Supreme Court has granted plaintiff’s petition for review.

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Will Someone Explain Why the Minnesota State Court System Cannot Make Civil Filings Public?

Starr 070906 8887 Impatiens hawkeri 300x225 Will Someone Explain Why the Minnesota State Court System Cannot Make Civil Filings Public?

Impatiens Hawkeri, b/k/a Impatients…

Update (October 21, 2014): Today Minnesota Lawyer quoted Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson following up on a Minnesota Lawyer post that, in turn, followed up on my Minnesota Litigator post below (link here, behind a paywall to the Minnesota Lawyer post).

Minnesota Lawyer quotes Justice Anderson is as saying, “To the extent that there is a suggestion that the judges are not interested or resist the move [to electronic access] that’s just not correct.”

I should perhaps clarify that there is no doubt in my mind that many Minnesota judges are very much in favor of public and remote access to court files and the sooner, the better. But, still, I highlight the language in the original post below, which suggests that the judicial branch has “begun discussing the possibility of providing remote access to court documents.”

Again, there is certainly no technological impediment to remote access. And, as far as the extremely important point about confidentiality of some documents in the court file, no one has explained to me how our federal courts seem to manage quite well but our state court system cannot do likewise.

I understand that the volume of confidential data in the state court system, plus the more limited resources of the state court system, present far more difficult hurdles than the federal court system. But, again, I hope the issue is not WHETHER to have state-wide remote access to court files but it is WHEN we will have it…

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