On the Challenge of Prediction Litigation (or Its Cost), v.2: Whitney v Morrison

The paucity of record evidence in this case combined with the failure of the extensive briefs associated with the present motions to connect their presentation of copious isolated facts to a coherent legal theory makes it difficult to construct a logical and/or chronological overview of the events underlying [Plaintiff's] claims or otherwise impose order on what appears to have been nothing short of a business relationship disaster.

The lawsuit where I got this quote was filed in October, 2010. The quote is from a court opinion this week. The case was then thrown out of court this week. But over eight months in 2012, the case went up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and then, after reversal, came back down to U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.). Judge Tunheim issued a ruling this week on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment post-remand.

What will any of these tenacious litigants recover from their four years of battling (aside from heartfelt thank-you notes from their lawyers and maybe a bottle of scotch or some other tokens of appreciation from their law firms around the holidays)?

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On Statutes of Limitation for Death by Exposure to Slow-Acting Poisons

Bottle 162x300 On Statutes of Limitation for Death by Exposure to Slow Acting PoisonsUpdate (September 24, 2014): The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the petition for review in the case discussed below. Presumably the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeals determination that the Minnesota legislature “has had decades to respond to [the Minnesota case on which the Walsh Court relied], [and the legislature] has declined to remove or alter the general six-year statute of repose for long-term exposure claims or latent defect/injury claims.”

Original Post (July 11, 2014): Dean Patrick Walsh (hereinafter “Mr. Walsh”) worked as a full-time union pressman at the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 1966 until he retired in 2004. In 2009, Mr. Walsh was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and he succumbed to the disease on June 30, 2009.

Let’s assume that Walsh’s illness was the result of his exposure to the toxic solvent, benzene, during his time working at the presses of the Star Tribune. Let’s further assume that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim based on Walsh’s exposure to this “insidious chemical” is six years.

Would a lawsuit brought on behalf of Walsh’s estate in June of 2012 be time-barred?

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On The Challenge of Predicting Litigation (or Its Cost): Sharkey v. Shoreview, et al.

Alice in Wonderland 285x300 On The Challenge of Predicting Litigation (or Its Cost): Sharkey v. Shoreview, et al.

“Alice in Wonderland”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Todd Sharkey does not like the officials of the City of Shoreview who rejected his application for a variance, it seems, and the lack of fond feelings might be mutual.

But what I find informative and interesting about his win at the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversing the trial court’s dismissal of his lawsuit is neither his underlying claim nor the defendants’ defenses. What I find informative and interesting is how his case came to be before the Court of Appeals.

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How messed up is U.S. immigration policy?

Pedestrian border crossing sign Tijuana Mexico 225x300 How messed up is U.S. immigration policy?Immigration policy is so messed up that a Minnesota landscaping business appears to have found it a relative bargain to devise a fairly complicated arrangement of illegal worker trafficking rather than simply hiring legal workers for a living wage.

L&K Landscaping of St. Michael, Minnesota is alleged to have instructed an illegal Mexican immigrant residing in Minnesota to go back to Mexico and get a visa, after which, L&K said it would hire him. L&K agreed to lend the worker, Mr. Campis Abarca, money to tide over his family during his trip to/from Mexico. When the visa was denied (based on Mr. Campis Abarca’s previous illegal entry into the U.S.), L&K is alleged to have insisted that Campis Abarca return to work, anyhow, because he had to repay the debt. L&K also told Campis Abarca that L&K would pay for Campis Abarca’s illegal entry into the United States and arrange for a legal visa the following year. L&K paid for a “coyote” to smuggle Campis Abarca into the United States. Then L&K worked Campis Abarca for a year, charging him rent for illegal and substandard housing, locking him and his family into a life of cycling debt and peonage.

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“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate…”

Illustrations to Dantes Divine Comedy object 4 Butlin 812 4 The Inscription over Hell Gate 214x300 Lasciate ogne speranza, voi chintrate...

William Blake Illustration of Dante’s Inferno

Happy Monday. For all you trial lawyers, judges, and, most of all, parties to civil litigation, this post’s for you.

The Italian poet, Dante, portrayed the gates of hell as having an inscription, the last line of which is the title of this post in Dante’s Italian. The most common translation into English is, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…”

Unfortunately, there are far too many civil litigants who feel that such an inscription should be over U.S. courthouses, state and federal, and over lawyers’ office doors as well for good measure.

I expect we can count Plaintiff Chandramouli Vaidyanathan, who is gearing up for the third trial against Seagate Technologies among those who have lost almost all hope in our legal system.

When his unhappiness overflowed into an email to former business colleagues, the immense challenge that is his multi-year lawsuit got even worse, as hard as that might be to imagine…

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