December 20, 2009  |  Joan M. Quade

Condemnation By Joan M. Quade Our constitution provides a right to receive just compensation if a public entity is taking land and provides that a condemning authority has an obligation to pay just compensation for land taken for a public purpose. This principal is deeply rooted in our constitutional history and traditions of real estate law.   Simply put: if you are a condemning authority you must pay fair value for land being taken. If you are a landowner you must receive fair value for land taken. The evaluation of the value of land is sometimes difficult, therefore, how does one determine what is fair value? We must rely on the right experts. Finding the right expert for valuation of property is not just a matter of finding the person who can do the comparables to suggest value. It is a matter of knowing who can find the most similar comps and who can persuasively communicate that information effectively in writing and at a commissioner’s hearing. Different cases and different types of property command different specialization. Value is initially decided by the condemning authority’s appraiser, however, the landowner has a right to an appraisal as well. The Minnesota Statutes provide that the landowner will be awarded $1500 to obtain their own appraisal on…

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What to Expect During Your Initial Attorney Interview After An Injury

December 20, 2009  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

Personal Injury-Wrongful Death FAQ What to Expect During Your Initial Attorney Interview After An Injury During the initial interview, your lawyer will, of course, want to hear about what happened to you and collect a variety of information from you. The length of the initial interview can vary a lot, depending on your injuries. In a simple negligence case it probably won’t take too long, especially if you have prepared for the meeting, whereas a complex case or a legal case involving serious injuries could take much longer. As you tell the lawyer about your accident, he or she may ask questions about it. Frequently, lawyers wait until you have told them everything before asking questions. Some of the questions may be difficult to hear, let alone answer. Be brave. Your lawyer needs to know the answers to help you find the best solution for your case. The lawyer will collect a variety of information from you that relates to the accident, your medical treatment, who else was involved in the accident, potential witnesses and the like. Here’s the sort of thing you can expect: The lawyer may ask you to sign medical authorizations and releases so he or she can obtain your medical records. The lawyer will want to know about all…

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Toward an "English Rule" on Costs and Disbursements

December 20, 2009  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

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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