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Bassford Remele is a full-service litigation firm that devotes its practice exclusively to providing trial and appellate repreesntation for local, national, and international clients in a wide array of business litigation.

Appellate Corner

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms summary judgment of a sexual abuse award.

On July 5, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued Clifford v. Church Mutual, affirming the district court’s judgment in favor of Church Mutual Insurance Company.

This is an insurance coverage dispute arising out of criminal sexual abuse by a pastor of two minor church members. After trial in the civil lawsuit against the pastor, a judgment was entered against the pastor in excess of $4,000,000. Demand was then made to the insurer of the pastor’s Church for payment of the judgment. The insurer denied coverage. The plaintiffs argued that insurance coverage should be available under the Church's policy for the criminal sexual abuse committed by the Church's pastor. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the insurer, and the plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment, concluding that the judgment against the pastor for his sexual acts was not covered under the Church’s insurance policy. The Court rejected the plaintiffs’ assertions that three nonsexual acts mentioned at trial triggered coverage under the policy.

Bassford Remele attorney Christian Preus successfully represented the insurer in this matter.

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Minnesota Court of Appeals affirms summary judgment of a construction negligence claim.

On June 27, 2016, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued Lindholm v. Carleton College, affirming the district court's summary judgment of a negligence claim.

Plaintiff was a sheet metal worker with extensive experience. While working in an attic space, he fell to the ground and was seriously injured. Defendant argued that no duty was owed to plaintiff because the hazard of falling from a catwalk in an attic space was obvious. The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed, noting that "[t]he risk of falling from height is a risk appreciated by all humans.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals also affirmed the district court's determination that plaintiff's 40-page affidavit was self-serving, directly contradicted plaintiff's damaging deposition testimony, and did not create a genuine issue of material fact for summary judgment.

Bassford Remele attorneys Andrew Marshall, Scott Andresen, and Amie Penny Sayler secured the appellate victory for their client.

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Minnesota Court of Appeals affirms employee may seek damages for wrongful discharge.

On June 27, 2016, in a published decision, the Court of Appeals confirmed that an employee terminated in violation of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) may seek damages for wrongful discharge.

In Burt v. Rackner, the plaintiff, an employee wrongfully discharged for his refusal to share gratuities, brought a claim against his former employer arguing that its tip-sharing requirement violated the MFLSA and that he was entitled to damages for wrongful discharge. The employer denied liability and claimed that because it terminated the plaintiff before he shared any gratuities, he suffered no damages and could not bring a claim under the MFLSA. The Court of Appeals rejected that argument and reinstated the plaintiff's claim. The Court agreed with the plaintiff's position that the statute’s plain language allows a claim for wrongful discharge when an employer conditions employment on following policies that violate the MFLSA. 

Bassford Remele attorneys Andrew Marshall, Mark Bradford, and Christine Hinrichs represented the plaintiff in the district court and in the Court of Appeals.

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For more information on Bassford Remele's Appellate Practice, please contact Mark R. Bradford

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