Pending Appeals - Highlights

Land Use and Conditional Use Permit Review. Appellant, an association of landowners, challenged county's decision to grant a conditional use permit (CUP) to expand a resort and offer some of the resort's cabins for sale, renting the remaining cabins to seasonal customers. Appellant challenged the change in ownership structure and the possible impact of a release of contaminants. The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the county's decision because it satisfied all four criteria of the county’s CUP ordinance. Oral argument is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2008. (The Big Lake Association v. St. Louis County Planning Commission)

Attorney-Client Relationship. The district court ordered that an attorney hired by an insurer to dissolve its insured, a corporation, would be required to testify about communications the attorney had with the wife of the corporation's deceased owner. The Minnesota Court of Appeals denied an emergency writ petition. The central issue is the nature and scope of the attorney-client relationship. (In Re: Paul Abbott Company)

Employer's Privilege Defense to Defamation. Employer challenged a jury award in favor of an employee for defamation. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the judgment because qualified privilege applied and the jury's finding of malice was contrary to the evidence. (LeRoy Bahr v. Boise Cascade Corp.)

Significant Decisions

Corporate Indemnification. The Minnesota Court of Appeals determined that a former corporate officer's criminal guilty plea conclusively established lack of good faith and thus precluded corporate indemnification for criminal fines and attorneys' fees. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding that a guilty plea did not, by itself, establish bad faith as to render officer ineligible for indemnification. (Augustine v. Arizant Inc.) Full Opinion