Sometimes clients prefer to handle real estate transactions on the cheap. They get a legal description, and want you to just copy it. No need for a survey. If a client insists on that course, its best to make them aware of the potentially catastrophic consequences. Continue reading
A soil builder is a menacing piece of farming machinery, at least from the perspective of a Twin Cities lawyer who is a little scared of staple removers. Human flesh and bone vs. soil builder would not be a fair fight.
But some models used to have a latent additional threat. To have its metal hooks or “shanks” dig deeper into the ground, a while back Defendant/Manufacturer Brillion Ironworks had the Brillion idea to fill the frame (the red part in the image above, a later model shown for purposes of illustration) with “galvanized steel punchings, which contained zinc and cutting oil as lubricant.” Farmers occasionally tinker with the frames for one reason or another (the winters are long, business is slow, tools are fun? (actually the things break and need repairs)). The galvanized steel punchings that contained zinc reacted with the moisture from the cutting oil to produce flammable gases such as hydrogen and methane. In two incidents in the 1990′s, when users drilled into the tubes, the gases streamed out, were ignited, and there were injuries.
No worries (going forward, that is). Brillion changed the design years ago. But Plaintiff Terrance Gardner crossed paths with a Brillion soil builder from the dangerous by-gone era when a farmer brought the soil builder to Gardner’s shop for repair in 2011.
All U.S. civil litigators know there are some hurdles to get over to get a garden-variety business dispute into federal court. Assuming you do not have a claim under a federal statute or the U.S. Constitution, one of the hurdles is “diversity of citizenship,” requiring “complete diversity” between plaintiffs and defendants and, another prerequisite to “diversity jurisdiction,” a $75,000 “jurisdictional amount.”
K-Tel entered into a contract with Tommy Moeller in 1984 where Tommy would make master recordings of the following musical compositions: “Concrete and Clay” and “You’ve Never Been In Love Like This Before.” In return, K-Tel would pay Tommy $5,400 plus a $1,500 advance, to be collected from promised royalties to Moeller of one-half cent ($0.005) per song sold. Sales still have not been sufficient for K-Tel to get back its $1,500 advance.
So, would the $75,000 jurisdictional amount be met here?
Update (2/20/2014): Mr. Randal Jones won’t escape liability or responsibility for a lawsuit in which his name is misspelled as “Randall Jones.” Because, otherwise, that would be stupid.
Original post (2/5/2014): (under Subject Line: Going once…going twice…gone! It’s back! It’s gone! It’s back again…): Grafe Auction has been in the equipment auction business for a long time (and has been retained in the liquidation of the Metrodome (“[W]e have several unique one of kind items that will be of special interest to football and in particular Vikings fans“)).
The auction biz is all about trust, right? You raise your little finger, your paddle, or you submit your bid and, if you bid the highest and you win, you promise to fork over the dough. But sometimes that is not how it plays out. Sometimes the auctioneer has to sue because the high bidder fails to pay up. Sometimes the auctioneer’s case against the high bidder/non-buyer settles after Grafe had to sue. And then sometimes Grafe has to sue the high bidder/non-buyer again to get the settlement paid by the person who failed to pay in the first instance?
Update (February 19, 2014): Winning the lawsuit and collecting the cash are very often thought of as synonymous. Not so. And the inexorable and costly march from Point A to Point B requires tenacity, patience, and a recognition that some big winners turn out ultimately to be big losers. See the linked document for Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle’s veil-piercing analysis (D. Minn.).
Update (December 6, 2013): On news of the win of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota Litigator wondered out loud whether the Band, at the end of the day, would be able to cash in its chips (otherwise known as “enforce the judgment that it won”). The Band and its lawyers plainly share that concern.
Original Post (October 7, 2013): Minnesota Litigator has previously covered the legal battle between the Corporate Commission of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians and Money Centers of America (“MCA”) (here and here).
The case has gone badly for MCA all along and now the tribe has prevailed on summary judgment against MCA to the tune of $5,623,690.83, plus prejudgment interest at a rate of 10% per year. (Congratulations to the phalanx of Faegre lawyers, Jane E. Maschka and Michael Krauss and others, who have represented the tribe.) And MCA’s counterclaims against the tribe have been tossed out.
It seems that this lawsuit, started in the Spring of 2012, was never really close. This, in turn, might suggest that the challenge for the plaintiff was never whether it would prevail but whether it will ever collect. District of Minnesota Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle’s order on cross-motions for summary judgment has the faintest hint of the potential challenge, concluding that summary judgment was emphatically “against MCA only” (and not the individual defendants). MCA apparently did not have the cash to run its business with the Plaintiff properly, where will it come up with the cash now?