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McCollum, Crowley, Moschet, Miller & Laak, Ltd.

News

November 1, 2013

McCollum Crowley Selected a 2014 U.S. Top Ranked Law FirmTM

McCollum Crowley is pleased to announce the firm’s selection as one of Martindale-Hubbell's 2014 U.S. Top Ranked Law FirmTM. Only 2,442 firms in the country have attained this ranking. Martindale-Hubbell chooses these firms by identifying U.S. law firms of 10 or more attorneys, where at least one-third of the attorneys in the firm achieved the AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating.  These lawyers are chosen from the Martindale-Hubbell database of 1.2 million lawyers. The AV Preeminent rating indicates that the rated lawyer has been deemed by his or her peers to have demonstrated the highest level of ethical standards and legal ability.

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are given based on confidential opinions of lawyers and members of the judiciary who provide reviews of lawyers about whom they have professional knowledge.  The ratings are an objective indicator of a lawyer’s high ethical standards and professional ability.


August 2013

Risk-Shifting Indemnity Agreements in Construction - Are They Finally Demolished?
By Cheryl Hood Langel

Minnesota legislation that took effect August 1 seems to have been intended to curtail contractors’ ability to shift their risk of loss for defective construction. But late amendments to the legislation, including an undefined term “project-specific insurance,” leave uncertain whether the legislative intent has been realized.

Read more >>


June 7, 2013

Minnesota Supreme Court Interprets Application of Absolute Pollution Exclusion to Carbon Monoxide Exposure
By Robert L. McCollum

In Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Wolters, filed May 31, 2013, the Minnesota Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether the absolute pollution exclusion found in the Midwest general liability insurance policy (“Midwest policy”) was limited to traditional environmental pollutants or whether the exclusion encompassed carbon monoxide released in a home by a negligently installed boiler.  In the underlying action, appellants brought litigation against Wolters, whom they had hired to build a seasonal residence, after the appellants suffered injuries due to carbon monoxide poisoning.  Appellants alleged negligence in the installation of an in-floor heating system boiler and carbon monoxide detectors and breach of express and implied warranties.  Subject to a reservation of rights, Midwest appointed defense counsel to represent Wolters and then initiated a declaratory judgment action.  Midwest asserted that it had no duty to defend or indemnify Wolters for the claims asserted in appellants’ lawsuits because the policy’s absolute pollution exclusion barred coverage.

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New Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law Signed By Governor
Effective Date: October 1, 2013

Governor Dayton recently signed into law a number of revisions to the Minnesota workers’ compensation statute.  These changes are significant, so please feel free to write or call if you have any questions or concerns.

Read more about the most significant changes.


May 24, 2013

Child Victims Act
By Robert L. McCollum

On Friday, May 17, 2013, the Minnesota Senate and House approved a new law regarding civil actions involving child sexual abuse, generally referred to as the Child Victims Act.  Governor Mark Dayton is expected to approve the Act and the new law will become effective the day following final enactment.

The Child Victims Act is a drastic change in the statute of limitations period for civil actions involving child sexual abuse.  Previously, individuals sexually abused as children had until age 24 to file a civil suit.  After turning 24 years old, the claims were past the six year statute of limitations and time-barred.

Under the new law, if someone under the age of 18 is sexually abused and their claims were not time-barred before the Child Victims Act effective date, then the individual may initiate a civil suit at any time.  The limited exception is if the alleged abuser was under age 14 at the time of the abuse.  In that case, the plaintiff must still bring their civil action by age 24.  This means that unless the alleged abuser was under 14 at the time of the abuse, the Child Victims Act essentially abolishes the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse civil claims going forward. 

The Child Victims Act also makes a far-reaching change in law regarding those whose child sexual abuse claims were previously time-barred.  The Act will provide these individuals with an opportunity to bring civil actions within a three year period after the Act’s effective date.  These actions may be for damages against a natural person, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, organization, association, or other entity.  This applies to all civil suits except for vicarious liability or respondeat superior claims.  Child sexual abuse claims based on vicarious liability or respondeat superior must still be commenced by the time the individual is 24 years old.

What this means is that for the three years following the enactment of the Child Victims Act, there is likely to be an increase of child sexual abuse civil suit filings, as many individuals whose claims were previously time-barred may now commence a law suit within the three year window of opportunity provided by the Act.


December 18, 2012

Minnesota law helps charities limit their exposure to clawbacks

by Jon Tevlin, Star Tribune
Over the years, a very generous and well-known businessman showered Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities with money, more than $200,000 in all. For BBBS, which like most nonprofits struggled to keep its programs funded, it was welcome relief.

Unfortunately, the money didn't belong to the businessman, Tom Petters, who was eventually convicted of running one of the nation's largest Ponzi schemes.

Years after spending the money Petters gave them, BBBS and many other nonprofits faced the possibility of financial clawbacks, which would have forced them to pay back all of the money. The prospect for the agency was potentially devastating, said Robert McCollum, a board member.

"These are difficult times for all nonprofits," said McCollum. "It would have had a big impact on programs and the number of people they could serve."

Read more >>


April 3, 2012

Minnesota Lawmakers Seek to Protect Nonprofits From Clawbacks

By Jacqueline Palank, Wall Street Journal
Minnesota lawmakers have passed legislation to protect nonprofits and religious groups from the so-called clawback lawsuits that are a crucial tool for recovering funds stolen from Ponzi-scheme victims.

That’s the idea behind the bill that now sits on the governor’s desk. If signed into law, the bill would limit the odds that these organizations could be sued under a current state law allowing the reversal of payments made in a fraudulent manner, according to the Star Tribune.

Read more >>


April 2, 2012

Governor signs legislation protecting non-profits from Ponsi clawback claims

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It has been more than two years since Tom Petters was found guilty of running a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme.

But the effort to recover money for Petters’ victims, some of which are in bankruptcy, has run smack into concerns by charities that received millions in donations from Petters and rely on that money to operate.

Read more >>

 


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