News & Resources

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Attorney Fleming Prevails on Fair Campaign Practices Act Claim

Attorney Kimberly Fleming successfully represented a former Minnesota mayor who brought a Fair Campaign Practices Act violation petition to the Office of Administrative Hearings related to the November 2016 election.  Ms. Fleming prevailed on the matter before the 3-panel court which found for her client, held there was a violation, and issued a penalty against the party charged.

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Michael D. Sharkey Has Article, “Grave Matters: The Law and Practice of Disinterment, Reinterment, and Exhumation in Minnesota” featured in Bench & Bar Minnesota

The May/June 2017 issue of Bench & Bar Minnesota magazine features an article by Michael D. Sharkely titled “Grave Matters: The Law and Practice of Disinterment, Reinterment, and Exhumation in Minnesota”. In the article, Sharkey discusses the serious business of meeting the emotional, religious, and legal, requirements involved in moving human remains.  Sharkey provides some basic history, the applicable laws, and the reasons why such movement may be necessary.  He also describes the human aspect of this work, including the satisfaction that can be given to a family member in having their loved one properly buried in a family or otherwise meaningful plot at long  … Read more

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Minnesota Supreme Court Finds That The “Proceeds Awarded” In A First-Party Claim For Benefits As Described By Minnesota’s Bad Faith Statute Are Unambiguously Capped By The Insurance Policy.

Wilbur v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company Minnesota Supreme Court 4/5/2017 The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision in Wilbur v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company addressed a question of first impression regarding the imposition of damages against an insurance company for a bad faith denial of a first-party underinsured motorist (UIM) claim.  Minnesota Statutes Section 604.18 authorizes an award of “taxable costs” against an insurer who has denied a claim for insurance benefits without a reasonable basis; those costs are calculated based upon the amount of the “proceeds awarded” to a claimant following successful claims for breach of contract  … Read more

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Michael C. Lindberg Joins Cousineau, Van Bergen, McNee & Malone, P.A.

CVMM is pleased to welcome Michael C. Lindberg to the firm as an of counsel attorney!  Attorney Lindberg is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Law School.  Over the past forty years he has tried numerous cases in both state and federal court defending products liability claims, aviation claims, and agricultural claims arising out of chemical drift. Lindberg was among the first lawyers in Minnesota to be certified a Civil Trial Specialist, a group of less than one percent of Minnesota attorneys.  Lindberg is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and for several  … Read more

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Rachel Beauchamp to co-chair MDLA Insurance Law Committee

CVMM congratulates Attorney Rachel B. Beauchamp on her new position as co-chair of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA) Insurance Law Committee.  The MDLA Insurance Law Committee prepares, hosts, and presents, educational meetings and seminars regarding insurance coverage issues of particular interest to insurance defense attorneys.

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Peter M. Lindberg joins Cousineau, Van Bergen, McNee, & Malone, P.A.

CVMM is pleased to welcome Peter M. Lindberg to the firm as an associate attorney!  Attorney Lindberg is a graduate of St. Olaf College and William Mitchell College of Law; prior to law school he worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.   Prior to joining CVMM, Attorney Lindberg practiced law at a small insurance defense law firm in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.  Lindberg’s practice focuses on motor vehicle accident litigation as well as premises liability, commercial trucking, dramshop, and aviation litigation.

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Christopher P. Malone Selected as one of the Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in the State of MN for 2017 by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA).

CVMM congratulates Shareholder Christopher P. Malone on his selection as one of the Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in the State of MN for 2017 by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). Attorney Malone received this award from ASLA whose one central purpose is to identify and promote only the most outstanding legal talent throughout the country.  ASLA identifies itself as an invitation-only legal organization to lawyers who combine stellar legal credentials with proven commitment to community engagement, leadership, and the highest professional standards.  The Top 100 accounts for less than 1.5% of lawyers nationally.

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Christopher P. Malone Delivers Defense Verdict After 3 Day Jury Trial.

Shareholder Christopher P. Malone was pleased to help his client achieve a defense verdict after a three day jury trial in Redwood County, MN.  The personal injury and property damage trial centered on the liability for a pick-up truck and semi-tractor accident.  Mr. Malone’s defense included his expert’s use of a computer simulation which allowed the jury to visualize the accident reconstruction evidence in real-time.  Mr. Malone practices in all areas of civil litigation defense and has significant experience in the specialized field of commercial trucking defense.

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Meaghan C. Bryan to Present to New Lawyers at the MDLA Mid-Winter Conference.

Meaghan Bryan will present a seminar to new lawyers at the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association (MDLA) Mid-Winter Conference in Walker, MN on February 10, 2017.  The presentation, titled Trials & Trepidation: Making the Transition from Associate to Shareholder in an Ever-Changing Legal Profession, will look at law firms of the past, present, and future, and discuss the unique challenges faced by new attorneys in law firms today, including the “vanishing trial” phenomenon, along with some tips and words of wisdom for those attempting to navigate the partnership track.

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Rachel B. Beauchamp Hones Her Trial Skills with MDLA Trial Technique Seminar.

In these days of waning numbers of jury trials, CVMM encourages its attorneys to keep their trial skills sharp through interactive trial seminars.  Attorney Beauchamp spent three days attending the MDLA Trial Techniques Seminar where she engaged in all aspects of a jury trial (voir dire, openings, direct and cross examination of fact witnesses, direct and cross examination of expert medical and reconstruction witnesses, and closing) and received feedback and updated litigation strategies from experienced local litigators.

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Cousineau, Van Bergen, McNee & Malone, P.A. begins operating!

The attorneys from the Civil Litigation practice group at Cousineau McGuire Chartered are pleased to announce that they are now operating as Cousineau, Van Bergen, McNee & Malone, P.A. We look forward to this new beginning and are excited to continue providing our clients with the quality, dedicated, and effective representation and advocacy for which our attorneys are known.

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Peter G. Van Bergen contributes to publication providing comprehensive overview of Minnesota personal injury law, LexisNexis Practice Guide: Minn. Personal Injury, § (Matthew Bender, Rev. Ed. ).

The distinguished litigation and trial experience of Peter G. Van Bergen was recognized by LexisNexis which asked him to serve as an Editorial Consultant to its new publication, LexisNexis Practice Guide: Minn. Personal Injury, § (Matthew Bender, Rev. Ed. ). The book provides a comprehensive overview of many of the Practice Areas in which the attorneys at Cousineau, Van Bergen, McNee & Malone, P.A. practice. Van Bergen’s knowledge and understanding of personal injury law in Minnesota is incorporated throughout the book’s chapters, which cover such topics as: initial handling of a case, intentional torts, negligence, motor vehicle negligence, premises and  … Read more

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Rachel Beauchamp has article, “Amended Rule 5.04, What is it Good For?” featured in Fall 2016 issue of the Minnesota Defense magazine.

The Fall 2016 issue of the Minnesota Defense magazine features an article by Rachel Beauchamp titled “Amended Rule 5.04, What is it Good For?” In the article, Beauchamp discusses the 2013 revisions to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure regarding the timeframe to file a “pocket-served” lawsuit and the first Minnesota Supreme Court cases interpreting the new Rule. Specifically, Beauchamp addresses the hopes and goals of the rule, its application since enactment, and its new interpretations as a result of the Supreme Court’s interpretation. Beauchamp ends the article with practical strategies for defense attorneys to utilize the Rule now that there is additional guidance  … Read more

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Meaghan Bryan and Michael Sharkey present on wrongful death and mortuary law to the Twin Cities Claims Association.

On October 11, 2016, Meaghan Bryan and Michael Sharkey provided a dual presentation on Minnesota wrongful death law and mortuary law to the Twin Cities Claims Association at Pour Richards Common House in Bloomington, MN. The presentations were geared toward the Halloween season, with Bryan’s entitled: Mortal Concerns: An Autopsy of Minnesota Wrongful Death Law, and Sharkey’s entitled, Grave Matters: An Introduction to Claims Against Funeral Homes, Crematories, and Cemeteries. Sharkey, whose practice includes representing funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries on legal and business matters, was a Funeral Director with a large funeral chapel and cemetery operation in the metropolitan  … Read more

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The Minnesota Supreme Court issues second of two cases addressing interpretation and finality of Rule of Civil Procedure 5.04

Cole v. Wutzke Minnesota Supreme Court 8/31/16 Cole v. Wutzke, published the same day as Gams v. Houghton (summarized here) relies upon and expands the discussion in Gams, but additionally specifically addresses whether an attorney’s mistake in failing to file within one year can constitute “excusable neglect”.  Cole, 2016 WL 4536505, at *1.  The Minnesota Supreme Court found that an attorney’s ignorance of the application of Rule 5.04 does not doom a Rule 60.02(a) analysis and reiterated that whether specific conduct constitutes “excusable neglect” is a fact-specific enquiry requiring complete analysis of the four Finden factors. Like Gams, Cole was  … Read more

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The Minnesota Supreme Court issues first of two cases addressing interpretation and finality of Rule of Civil Procedure 5.04

Gams v. Houghton Minnesota Court of Appeals 8/31/16 Gams v. Houghton is the first of a pair of recent cases Minnesota Supreme Court cases interpreting Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 5.04, which was newly enacted in July, 2013, and provides that any case not filed with the Court within one-year after service on the first defendant is deemed dismissed with prejudice.  Gams, and its companion case Cole v. Wutzke (summarized here) establish that Rule 60.02 motions to vacate  applies to Rule 5.04 dismissals as well as affirming the constitutionality of a dismissal based upon Rule 60.02.  Gams arose out of  … Read more

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Minnesota Court of Appeals holds that an out-of-state insurer that is not licensed to write motor-vehicle-accident insurance in Minnesota has no obligation under the Act to provide basic economic loss benefits to it insured injured in an accident in Minnesota.

Founders Insurance Company v. Yates Minnesota Court of Appeals 2-29-16 In this Minnesota Court of Appeals case interpreting Minnesota’s No-Fault Act, the Court found that an out-of-state insurer that is not licensed to write motor-vehicle-accident insurance in Minnesota has no obligation under the Act to provide basic economic loss benefits to it insured injured in an accident in Minnesota. Founders Insurance Company (“Founders”) insured Yates pursuant to an Illinois policy of insurance, issued to Yates while he was an Illinois resident.  Founders is licensed to write dram-shop insurance in Minnesota, but is not to write or issue motor-vehicle insurance in  … Read more

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United State District Court determined, as a matter of first impression, that the costs related to the creation of an e-discovery platform are not taxable

Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services, v BendTec, Inc. United States District Court District of Minnesota 2-24-16 In this question of first impression in the Eighth Circuit regarding an unusual analysis of taxable costs and disbursements following the conclusion of a case, United States District Court Judge Michael J. Davis found that costs related to the creation and management of an e-discovery platform were not recoverable, but e-discovery costs that qualify as “exemplification fees” comparable to the cost of making copies are recoverable. After resolution of the underlying case in BendTec, Inc’s favor, BendTec moved for the recovery of more  … Read more

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Minnesota Supreme Court determines a Rule 68 offer which provides double-costs to a plaintiff is substantive not procedural when determining preemption between federal and state Rules.

Boyd v. BNSF Railway Company Minnesota Supreme Court January 27, 2016 A new Minnesota Supreme Court decision addresses the interplay between Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 68 and federal law in the FELA context.  Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 68 governs offers of settlement and judgment in Minnesota cases and provides a cost-shifting mechanism designed to encourage settlement of claims by imposing fees and costs upon a party who failed to accept a settlement offer or offer of judgment that is more favorable than the trial results.  Minnesota Rule 68 also has a federal counterpart but it is significantly different  … Read more