Finance and Commerce

Groundbreaking case law is set daily at the Minnesota State Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. Here's the latest as excerpted from Finance and Commerce, Appellate Courts Edition:

File C0-96-1728, State v. Ives

The prosecutor's comments during final argument that the defendant was a "would-be punk'' with a "pathetic little life'' were an improper attack on the defendant's character, but in light of overwhelming evidence against the defendant, such comments were not so prejudicial that they denied the defendant a fair trial.

File C0-97-346, Balchova v. Bassovski

Where the record shows: (1) the arbitrator was aware that Balchova, who was injured in an auto accident with defendant, is a person of foreign citizenship, present in the United States on a visitor's visa; as an attorney, the arbitrator had represented many immigrants in various legal matters; in explaining his decision to award $0 in damages to Balchova, the arbitrator stated that he believed "[immigrants] all know where to go [to] get medical treatment''; and although the arbitrator stated that his experiences "were not the basis of any determination made in the award,'' he stressed to Balchova's counsel that Balchova's overall credibility was tainted because she testified that she was not aware of the benefits available to her; we conclude that the record demonstrates an appearance of bias sufficient to support the trial court's vacation of the arbitration award.

File C3-97-390, Olson v. City of Lakeville

Even though one of the female plaintiff's co-workers, who was also female, discussed her sexual activities and shared sexual jokes with other employees, and engaged in flirtatious behavior with male employees, the conduct does not amount to purposeful sexual harassment and the district court properly granted summary judgment on the employee's MHRA claim. Where plaintiff employee lacked the certification that fellow male building inspectors had, she failed to prove a prima facie case of indirect sexual discrimination.

File C7-97-361, Sundgaard v. Stroh Brewery Co., et al.

Where the employer had a well-known and reasonable work rule that employees were not to sleep during work hours and the discharged employee willfully violated that rule by sleeping 35 minutes past his break during work hours without offering a valid excuse; we conclude that the commissioner's representative properly determined that the employee was disqualified from receiving re-employment insurance benefits because he was discharged from employment for misconduct.

File CX-97-77, World Animal Studios, Inc., vs. Leonard Bohn

World Animal Studios, Inc. appeals from a judgment awarding respondent Leonard Bohn, d/b/a Bohn's Ark, $26,240 in boarding fees for seized exotic animals, arguing (1) the trial court erred by not requiring Bohn to produce documents in response to a subpoena duces tecum and (2) that the evidence does not support the judgment. Because the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's finding that the $20 per day boarding rate per animal was reasonable, we affirm.

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