Toward an "English Rule" on Costs and Disbursements

December 20, 2009  |  BGS

Toward an “English Rule” on Costs and Disbursements By Thomas P. Malone and Bradley A. Kletscher The political climate regarding litigation is changing. Everywhere attacks are being made on the “litigation explosion”. Huge efforts are being made to curtail the 30-year trend of expanded litigation; witness the “tort reform” and fee shifting statutes throughout the United States. One method used by legislatures and courts is charging the loser with paying the winners “costs”. “Costs” have always been assessed against the loser in civil litigation. The present difference is the expanding definition of the term “costs”. Year ago, “costs” included, for the most part, only filing fees and service of process expenses. That is no longer the case. Statutes enacted since 1983, as well as court cases construing those statutes, have dramatically expanded the definition of litigation “costs”. Parties are now fairly wide open to an award of the actual costs incurred by the winning side. For example, deposition expenses are now available irrespective of whether the depositions were used by the prevailing party. Until recently, the prevailing rule was that the court would award only those deposition expenses that were taken by the prevailing party and used by that party at trial. That is no longer the case. Now, courts are awarding expenses…

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Minnesota's Sexual Harassment Statute: It's History and the law (Part I)

December 20, 2009  |  BGS

Every person who works, and every company that does business in Minnesota must address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Even if no such conduct has occurred at the workplace, it is still necessary for employers to have policies in place to address the issue should it arise. Because the topic is such a pressing issue, this article addresses the history behind Minnesota’s law and the specific requirements necessary to prove a claim. Part I of this article discusses the history. Part II discusses the evidence necessary to prove such a claim. The Minnesota Human Rights Act is designed to prevent discrimination against women and men through prohibition of offensive sexual harassment by others. The original version of the MHRA, known as the Minnesota State Act for Fair Employment Practices (FEP) set out its policies in full as follows: “Section 1. Declaration of policy. As a guide to the interpretation and application of this act, be it enacted that the public policy of this state is to foster the employment of all individuals in this state in accordance with their fullest capacities, regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, or national original, and to safeguard their rights and privileges of the inhabitants of this state and menaces the institutions and foundations…

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Military Leave Law

December 20, 2009  |  Scott M. Lepak

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act was enacted into law on October 13, 1994. This law clarifies and expands upon the Veterans’ Reemployment Rights Act. It provides that an individual has the right to return to work following a leave for uniformed service. In order to be entitled to reemployment: 1) the employer must receive notice of the impending service from the employee or uniformed service; 2) such service leave may not exceed five years (subject to some exceptions which allow for a longer service leave); and 3) the individual must report or reapply to the employer in a timely manner following the service. What is considered a timely reporting or reapplication depends upon the length of the leave and whether the individual has been injured or has incurred an illness while in the uniformed service. Upon returning from a leave of at least 30 days but less than 180 days, an employee may not be discharged without just cause for a period of 180 days. If the leave was greater than 180 days, the returning employee may not be discharged without just cause for one year. Seniority-related benefits decisions must take into account and include the period of time that an employee is on such military leave. This type of…

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