Agency Variance Application: Examining Standards for Agency Decisions. Utility requested variance from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's one-year limitation in true-up rule to recover natural gas charges exceeding $20 million; request was denied. Court of appeals reversed agency decision in favor of utility. (In re Review of 2005 Automatic Adjustment of Charges for All Electric and Gas Utilities)

Whistleblower Claims: Parameters of Protected Conduct. An in-house attorney was fired after reporting a suspected violation of law in communication with his employer-client. Court of appeals reversed district court's judgment, holding that the former employee had not engaged in protected activity, but was fulfilling "the duties of his position of employment." (Kidwell v. Sybaritic)

Certified Question: Do Mortgage Lender Nominees Need to Record Assignments Before Commencing Foreclosure Proceedings? Arguments scheduled for Sept. 18, 2008. Examining Minnesota Statutes section 280.02(3), which requires that before a mortgage is foreclosed, mortgage must be recorded and "if it has been assigned, that all assignments thereof have been recorded." (Jackson v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.)

Significant Decisions

Securities Registration/Federal Preemption. In stock purchasers' fraud and negligence case against coporation and CEO, Supreme court concluded that federal law does not preempt state registration requirements with respect to securities that purport to be, but are not in fact, federal covered securities. (Risdall v. Brown-Wilbert, Inc. ) Full Opinion

Tax Exemption. Supreme court reversed and remanded tax court decision. When determining whether leased property was tax-exempt for a nonprofit corporate taxpayer, tax court should examine whether the taxpayer had a purpose of existence apart from the non-exempt hospitals it operated. (HealthEast v. County of Ramsey ) Full Opinion