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June 21, 2016

Do Not Waive Your Right to Arbitrate


by David Hammargren

Employers may have a contractual right to arbitrate claims, but that right can be waived. In the context of an alleged wrongful termination, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently concluded that an employer had done just that – waived its right to arbitrate. Contractors and employers can learn a great deal from the court’s decision in Messina v. North Central Distributing, Inc. (dba Yosemite Home Décor), which would apply to any contractual dispute which involves an arbitration clause.

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Blight and Abandoned or Unattended Vehicles


by Inga Schuchard


Abandoned motor vehicles constitute a hazard to the health and welfare of the people of Minnesota. According to the state of Minnesota, and many local municipalities, abandoned vehicles can harbor noxious diseases, furnish shelter and breeding places for vermin, and present physical dangers to the safety and well-being of children and other citizens. Minnesota law declares abandoned motor vehicles and other scrap metals to be a blight on the landscape and a detriment to the environment. Minn. Stat. § 168B.01. A “blight” is something detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community. In April 2016, the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided a matter concerning a vague municipal blight ordinance, and reversed Renee Anita Vasko’s misdemeanor conviction of violating the same. State v. Vasko, No. A15-1172, 2016 WL 1551666 (Minn. Ct. App. April 18, 2016).

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News and Notes

Gary Van Cleve and Bryan Huntington successfully obtained summary judgment for a client terminating a lawsuit filed by the city of Rochester. The court ordered the dispute to binding arbitration under the terms of a prior settlement agreement between the client and the city. The underlying dispute concerns whether the client has the right to acquire certain excess lands now owned by the city as a result of past condemnation proceedings for various public projects.

Tim Rye resolved a property tax appeal in Brooklyn Park where highest and best use of the property was the central challenge. The settlement reduces the value of the property by 60 percent and will save our client more than $300,000 in property taxes for the years covered by settlement.

Dave Hammargren participated in a panel discussion conducted by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal concerning the design/build and construction markets. Click here to read a transcript of the discussion.

Tim Rye and Larkin Hoffman’s property tax appeal team completed a very busy property tax appeal season by filing 70 appeals on more than $550 million in real estate.

Small property tax appeals matter for businesses, too. Tim Rye settled a tax appeal, amounting to a $350,000 reduction in value on a property originally valued at $1.65 million. This 21
percent reduction in tax obligation saved the property owner and business owner approximately $65,000, which goes directly back to the bottom line.

On June 1, 2016, Dwight Benoy, a professional engineer with INSPEC, presented at Larkin Hoffman on the topic “Flat Roofs are Rotting.”


Our Attorneys

Gary Van Cleve, chair



David Hammargren



Paul Meyer



Coyle Headshot

Tamara O'Neill Moreland



Rob Stefonowicz



James Susag



James Sander



Timothy Rye



Bryan Huntington



Inga Schuchard



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Larkin Hoffman provides counsel to a wide variety of ‎organizations, from ‎small businesses and nonprofits to  Fortune 500 companies, in ‎many areas of practice including ‎corporate and governance matters, litigation, real ‎estate, government relations, labor and employment, intellectual property, ‎information technology, ‎franchising and taxation. The firm also serves the needs of individuals in many ‎areas ‎including trusts and estates and family law.


This newsletter is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates. While the information provided in this newsletter is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.