Jay Tentinger Conducts Farm Accident Seminar

Attorney Jay A. Tentinger presented a 90-minute seminar for the National Business Institute on April 2, 2014 on the topic of farm accident injuries. The seminar was attended by attorneys interested in litigating cases involving farming accidents, insurance adjusters, and others interested in the legal issues surrounding farming accidents.

Jay Tentinger grew up on a farm and is still active in farming. He owns farmland and helps with crops during the spring and fall farming seasons. As an experienced farmer he has an extensive knowledge of farming equipment tools, how to handle livestock, as well as how to preserve and protect the value of crops.

With his extensive legal experience and with his background in farming, Jay Tentinger understands the extent of injury and damage in farm accident cases. Having a deep appreciation for the practices of farming and being a farmer himself, he helps clients best protect their rights and interests if something goes wrong. He understands the nuances of the farming industry and can effectively protect clients’ rights and long-term interests when they have suffered property damage or an injury caused by farming equipment and farming accidents.

We are experienced in farm accidents and damage involving:

  • Injuries caused by silage cutter or balers
  • Equipment defects
  • Farm augers and mowers
  • Amputated limbs
  • Maiming by harvesters
  • Chemical burns
  • Misrepresentation/fraud related to infected or damaged livestock
  • Tractor overturns
  • All-terrain vehicle accidents
  • Equipment entanglements
  • Injuries sustained by animals
  • Injuries caused by animals

Go to following link if you are interested in listening to Jay Tentinger’s farming injury litigation seminar.

http://www.nbi-sems.com/Details.aspx/R-65809SADM%7C?ctname=SPKEM

Tentinger Law Firm, PA, 15000 Garrett Avenue, Apple Valley, MN 55124

www.tentingerlawfirm.com

952-953-3330

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Minnesota

One of the more frequently asked questions in my practice is what rights grandparents granparents visitation photo 1have to visit their grandchildren. Generally, grandparents do not have a right to visitation with their grandchildren if:

  • both parents are alive;
  • a divorce action or custody action has not been commenced between the parents; and
  • the grandchild has never resided with the grandparents for a significant period of time.

Part of parents’ due process right under the Constitution is to make child-rearing decisions, including with whom their child associates.  Therefore, grandparents are at the mercy of their son or daughter to arrange visits with their grandchildren unless:

  • their son or daughter is deceased;
  • a dissolution, custody, legal separation, annulment or determination of paternity is commenced by one of the parents;
  • the child has resided with the grandparent for a period of twelve months or more and is subsequently removed from the home by the child’s parents; or
  •  if a step-parent adopts the child and either the grandparent’s child is deceased or the grandparent’s child’s rights have been terminated pursuant to the step-parent adoption.

In these circumstances, grandparents and even great-grandparents do have a right to seek reasonable visitation with the child under Minnesota Law (Minnesota Statute Section 257C.08).

Before the court may award grandparent visitation they must find that the visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child and, by clear and convincing evidence, would not interfere with the parent/child relationship (See e.g. C.D.G.D. v. Darst, 800 N.W.2d 652 (Minn. Ct. App. 2011).

grandparents visitation photo 2In making this determination, courts must consider the amount of personal contact between the parents or grandparents of the child and the child prior to the application for grandparent visitation rights.  The more frequent the prior contact, the more likely the courts are to find that continued contact is in the child’s best interest.  Another common argument that continued contact is in the child’s best interest is that it furthers the child’s interest in maintaining or establishing connections with that side of the family.

It is extremely important to remember that the courts in this context are focused on the right of the child to see the grandparents and not on the grandparent’s interest.  Therefore, the focus always remains on what is good for the child, not what is good for the child’s grandparent.  Further, because of the parent’s fundamental right to the care, custody and control of his or her child carries with it the presumption that the parent is acting in the best interests of the child, the court must consider the parent’s own determination regarding grandparent visits.  It is also not generally appropriate for the court to award as much visitation to a grandparent as it would to a noncustodial parent, so an every-other-weekend visit schedule is probably not appropriate, but a once-a-month visit may be appropriate, depending on the facts of the case.

Because of the fact-specific nature of grandparent visitation cases and the somewhat granparents visitation photo 3difficult legal standard, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney.  Contact Tentinger Law Firm for an experienced legal consultation on grandparent visitation at http://www.tentingerlawfirm.com/ or 952-953-3330.

Tentinger Law Firm Welcomes Anna M. Yakle as Associate Attorney

Anna Color

Tentinger Law Firm Welcomes Anna M. Yakle to the firm as Associate Attorney as of March 1, 2014.

Anna focuses her practice on family law matters, including divorce, adoption, custody, parenting time/visitation, grandparent visitation, and paternity.  She also represents clients in the areas of employment law, business law and wills/trusts. 

Anna obtained her Bachelor of Science in Paralegal Studies from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota in 2004 and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2008.  During law school, Anna served on the Hamline Law Review and maintained her presidential merit scholarship. Anna was admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 2008. Prior to joining Tentinger Law Firm, Anna was employed as an Associate at the Law Offices of Edward R. Shaw in Brainerd, Minnesota, representing clients in family law cases.  She truly enjoys helping clients achieve their goals and is excited to be serving Dakota County and the surrounding areas.

Contact Tentinger Law Firm for your free consultation regarding your legal issue in family law, divorce, child custody, employment law, business law, and wills and trusts.

Tentinger Law Firm, P.A.

15000 Garrett Avenue

Apple Valley, MN 55124

Phone:  952-953-3330

Fax:  952-953-3331

jay@tentingerlawfirm.com

anna@tentingerlawfirm.com

 

Amendments to the Whistleblower Act Clarifies Protected Workplace Conduct for Employers and Employees

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil—it’s the surest way to keep your job—butwhistleblower photo 2 what about professional integrity? After corporate debacles, such as Enron and huge bank bailouts, the expectation has grown that professional integrity in the workplace be protected. However, what exactly those protections should be has been unclear until recent amendments to the Minnesota Whistleblower Act.

The Minnesota Whistleblower Act, Minn. Stat. §§ 181.931-2, enacted in 1987, was intended to prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report, or refuse to engage in illegal conduct. The purpose was to encourage employees to report unlawful conduct and, thereby, dissuade employers from engaging in illegal behavior.

The original language of the law prohibited an employer from retaliating against an employee because the employee reported a violation of federal or state laws or rules “in good faith.” Over the years, because “in good faith” was not defined, courts tended to enforce a narrow interpretation of the language of the law, particularly “in good faith.” This narrow interpretation made it difficult to successfully make a case for whistleblower protection as whistleblowers had to prove they were blowing the whistle to expose an illegality.

This year, the legislature has amended the act to define “in good faith” and clarify that employees are acting “in good faith” as long as they do not make statements or disclosures knowing that they are false or that they are in reckless disregard of the truth.

whistleblower photoAmendments to the whistleblower act have clarified protected “whistleblowing” activity to now:

 
–Protect the conduct of a neutral party who blows the whistle for the protection of the general public, or at least, some third person in addition to the whistleblower.

–Cover reports of violations of common law, such as certain types of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, or other conduct that has not been specifically prohibited by a statute or regulation.

–Protect planned violations, meaning plots to violate laws that may occur in the future that have not yet been implemented. However, the existence of an actual plan will need to be proved.

–Defined “report” as a verbal, written, or electronic communication by an employee about an actual, suspected, or planned violation.

–Defined “penalize” to include conduct that might dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a report, including post-termination conduct.

–Expand protection of state employees to prohibit retaliation against state employees for providing information relating to the government.

While the Whistleblower Act amendments have strengthened employee protections, employers can still reduce their liability by performing well-documented investigations of employee reports and implementing effective training for management and human resources personnel.

Jay A. Tentinger

Contact Tentinger Law Firm for experienced legal consultation on how to protect your business from legal liability, www.tentingerlawfirm.com. 651-287-9815.

Minnesota Attorney Uses Farming Experience to Advocate for Victims of Farm Accidents

Farmers and people who work on farms know that their work is filled with risk. Not only do they have to deal with the whims of Mother Nature and the fluctuations of the market, they must also perform work in conditions that are at high risk for fatal or debilitating injuries. What’s more, unlike other industries, in which the work is done Farm1offsite, farm work presents dangers for family members who also live and often work on the farm. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), agriculture has one of the highest death rates among all occupations in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), report 476 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury in 2010. The CDC data shows that every day about 243 agricultural workers suffer injury resulting in work loss. Five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment. Additionally, CDC research showed in 2009, an estimated 16,100 children and adolescents were injured on farms; 3,400 of these injuries were due to farm work.

Attorney Jay A. Tentinger of Tentinger Law Firm was once a farmer and continues to assist in farm work (farming the land and maintaining livestock) when he is not advocating for his clients. While Jay’s office is located in Minnesota, he is a licensed attorney in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Because Jay owns farmland in Iowa, he understands that agriculture injuries can result from the following factors:

Tractor Accidents and Rollovers—Tractor accidents on farms cause the highest number of fatalities, with tractor overturns accounting for 44 percent of all tractor fatalities. Even though technology exists to protect workers from overturn, many tractors do not come with this equipment.

Farm Machinery Accidents—Farm work involves heavy machinery with moving parts, such as skid loaders, hay balers, augers, front end loaders and back hoes. Safety devices that often can prevent these foreseeable accidents exist but often are not Farm2installed by manufacturers in order to cut costs. In addition, manufacturers must provide complete warnings, operator instructions, and service procedures. Often malfunctions of the machinery itself can lead to accidents.

Livestock Accidents—Farm workers can be kicked or knocked over by a cow or other livestock. Car accidents involving farm animals loose in the road are not uncommon.

Pesticide and Chemical Exposures—Chemicals and pesticides that fail to provide complete instructions on safe usage and hazard warnings can result in devastating injuries. The National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) has released two new publications on the safe use of cleaning chemicals.

Entrapments—Malfunctioning farm equipment can result in farmers becoming trapped in grain bins, silos, barns or other structures.

Slip and Fall Accidents—Accidental falls from horses, silos, barns, or combines are everyday risks along with slipping on wet farm equipment and surroundings.

Fires—with fuel needed to run farm machinery, defective farm equipment can cause injuries and loss from fire.

If you have been injured in a farm accident you may want to find the answers to the following questions:

  • How am I going to pay for my medical bills?
  • Can I get disability?
  • Can I be compensated for lost wages or pain and suffering?
  • Can I be compensated for disfigurement or scarring?
  • Is there any insurance money available to help me right now?
  • What papers should I sign?
  • Do I need an attorney?

Jay uses his first-hand knowledge of how farm machinery works and the day-to-day operations on a farm to help victims of farm accidents recover compensation for their loss.

In one case, Jay successfully represented a client whose cattle were damaged due to how they were handled during veterinary treatment. Jay has assisted farmers injured in tractor overturns, combine accidents, power take off (PTO) accidents, and a farmer who was killed by a silage cutter.

If you have loved ones who have been involved in a farm accident, call Jay Tentinger to find out what you can do, 651-287-9815.

Minnesota Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employees in Wage Deduction Lawsuit

When employees blew the whistle on their employers for forcing them to use their tipswaitress to pay for walkouts, register shortages, and unsigned credit-card receipts, the case went all the way up to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Roughly 750 servers, bartenders, and security guards brought a class-action against their Employees, Uptown Drink, LLC, Drink, Inc., Downtown Entertainment Ventures LLC d/b/a Spin Night Club, Fun Group, Inc., and Michael Whitelaw, claiming their employers violated Minn. Stat. § 181.79.

Section 181.79 makes it unlawful for an employer to:

Make any deduction, directly or indirectly, from the wages due or earned by any employee for lost or stolen property, damage to property, or to recover any other claimed indebtedness running from employee to employer without voluntary authorization from the employee.

paying with credit cardDuring the trial, witnesses, including the employer’s witnesses, testified that the employees were required to pay from their tips for register shortages and the bills of customers who left without paying or signing credit card receipts or face employment termination.

The employers argued that the payments were not deductions because the employees decided, of their own volition, that rather than take a write-up for improperly failing to handle cash, they would cover the shortages to the employers.

In District Court, the employees alleged five causes of action, including the unlawful deductions, and sought a directed verdict on the section 181.79 claim. The District Court denied the motion and submitted the claim to a jury who found the employers did not violate section 181.79.

The jury concluded that even though there was evidence that employees were forced toOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA pay for the shortages and walkouts from their own tips, the deductions were being taken from tips rather than their hourly pay. The jury consequently concluded that the employee’s wages would need to fall below the minimum wage in order to violate 181.79. The jury concluded that the employees failed to show that the deductions resulted in any employee’s wages falling below minimum wage.

After the verdict, the employees requested judgment as a matter of law but the District Court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed. However, the Supreme Court concluded that the employees were entitled to judgment as a matter of law for their section 181.79 claim.

According to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure 50.01, if during a trial by jury, the jury finds for a party, but there is no legally sufficient basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party, the Court may decide the issue against the party and grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law.

leaving a tipThe Supreme Court held that tips or gratuities also fall under the definition of wages even though the money is paid by another person and that the plain language of section 181.79 does not require employees to show that deductions caused their wages to fall below minimum wage. The law states “any deduction . . from the wages due.”

The Supreme Court reversed the decision and remanded to the District Court with instructions to rule in favor of the employees on section 181.79.

See Jana Karl, et. al. v. Uptown Drink, LLC et. al., A12-0166, Minn., Aug. 14, 2013.

Contact Tentinger Law Firm for an attorney who has experience in employment law, 651-287-9815.

Tentinger Law Firm Announces the Addition of Associate Attorney Aaron Haddorff

Tentinger Law Firm would like to introduce our newest attorney to the firm, Attorney Aaron HaddorffAaron Steven Haddorff. Aaron joins the firm as an Associate Attorney and brings with him his two years’ experience working for the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office. Aaron has also previously worked for eighteen months as a Law Clerk for Tentinger Law Firm before accepting a position with the firm.

Aaron received his Bachelor’s of Arts with a double major in Government and Spanish from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2008 and he received his Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2012. While in law school at William Mitchell, Aaron was a member of the 2011 Rosalie Wahl Moot Court champion team, an active member of the Phi Alpha Delta professional fraternity, and a mentor to several law students through the Alumni Mentor program and the Phi Alpha Delta mentor program.

Aaron has concentrated his practice on civil and criminal litigation at both the initial district court level as wells as the appellate level. He represents individuals in matters regarding employment rights, labor rights, family law rights, and criminal defense. Aaron also represents small businesses in ordinary business and employment matters.

Like the rest of the staff at Tentinger Law Firm, Aaron is dedicated to fighting for the rights of his clients. At Tentinger Law Firm, we are committed to applying the full breadth of our experience, skill, and creativity toward a satisfactory resolution for each case we take on. Our services go beyond an excellent understanding of the law, we provide our clients with energized legal representation that is cost-effective, passionately attentive to the details, and built on in-depth experience.

 

 

What Can Disqualify You for Unemployment Insurance?

If your employer terminates you for misconduct, does that automatically disqualify you for unemployment benefits?

You have rights when you are fired from your job

Consult attorney Jay Tentinger if you are fired without cause.

Yes

However, you have rights when you are terminated by an employer.

Employee misconduct is defined as intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct that is in serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has a right to expect. Some acts may not be found to constitute misconduct according to the law, such as unsatisfactory performance, good faith error in judgment, or violations of rules that the employer failed to communicate to employees.

Most people know that if they quit a job by their own choice and without good cause, this will disqualify them from unemployment benefits. However, if you have “good cause” as defined by the Minnesota unemployment office, you may qualify to collect benefits.

Other reasons for being ineligible for unemployment benefits include insufficient earnings, quitting because of illness or to attend school, involvement in a labor dispute or strike, failure to apply for suitable work, or being self-employed.

If you feel you have been terminated without cause, it is best to consult a legal advisor. Jay Tentinger is an experienced employment law attorney. Call Tentinger Law Firm for a free case evaluation.

Are Motorcycle Accident Victims Entitled to No Fault Benefits?

bike accident

No-fault insurance is not automatically covered with motorcycle insurance policies

When it comes to personal injury, Minnesota is a No Fault state. In Minnesota, all drivers are required by law to have insurance and all insured motor vehicle drivers are covered with no fault insurance benefits, regardless of fault. This means that if insured drivers are injured in an automobile accident, they can recover their medical expenses from their own insurance. Under Minnesota law, no fault benefits provide coverage for:

1.  Bills paid to your treatment providers

2.  Mileage to and from your treatment providers

3.  Prescription medication or medical equipment reimbursement

4.  Replacement Services up to a maximum of $200 per week for usual and necessary services that the injured person(s) of the household must hire due to disability

5.  85% of wage loss up to a maximum of $250 per week due to injury and treatment

But what if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident? Does the law provide motorcycle accident victims with similar no fault benefits?

No—only if Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage was specifically purchased by the motorcycle owner.

Under Minnesota motorcycle law, motorcyclists are only required to have liability insurance coverage. Minnesota law makes negligent drivers responsible for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. So if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, negligence must be shown to recover compensation of property damage, medical expenses, replacement services, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

Understanding your rights under Minnesota motorcycle insurance law and proving negligence can be difficult and it is best to seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Jay A. Tentinger has over 25 years of experience in personal injury law. Call Tentinger Law Firm for a free consultation on the facts surrounding your motorcycle accident.

Medical Records Key to Winning Personal Injury Cases

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, most likely the most important thing on your mind is getting the proper medical treatment and getting back to your pre-injury status. Many do not think about recovering for the loss they’ve incurred in the accident until treatment is already in progress. When victims seek out legal assistance, they are often surprised to find that successfully collecting payment in a personal injury case, can be a lengthy process. Part of the reason for the lengthy time frame rests on the process of collecting medical records. While medical records are critical to bringing a successful personal injury suit, they are not always easy to obtain.

Minnesota Statute provides accident victims six years from the time of the accident to file a personal injury claim. This is called the Statute of Limitations.

This provides time necessary for the accident victim to have a true understanding of the scope of damages incurred in the accident and for gathering of the necessary evidence to prove a claim. In personal injury cases, the victim must prove that the other party was negligent in their actions (cause of the accident), that due to that negligence (cause) the accident occurred, and that damages were sustained. The key to proving damages lies with the gathering of evidence in the form of medical records.

Here are some tips for streamlining the process of collecting medical records for your case:

1.         Keep copies of all your bills and receipts for medical treatment, including prescriptions, over the counter medicines, medical supplies, or medical equipment.

2.         Gather your medical records and medical bills and bring them with you to your first visit with an attorney.

3.         If you are unable to bring a copy of your medical records to your first visit, bring a complete list of all your treating medical providers and their addresses and phone numbers.

4.         Sign a release of information form for each provider and leave it with your attorney.

5.         Update your attorney if you continue to treat with a healthcare provider or if you have stopped treatment with a provider.

Most people don’t realize how much money and time they would save if they requested their own medical records. Most treatment centers charge a fee to provide copies of medical records. Some treatment centers charge as high as $1.50 per page with a separate retrieval fee of $20. To obtain your own medical records, you will need to complete a consent form to release your records to you and you will need to specify that the records are for your personal use. Many facilities have their own HIPPA form.

However, this is an area in which advice from an attorney can be critical. A certified copy of your medical records may be required by the insurance company for the adverse driver (at fault party) to eliminate any question as to the validity of the medical records. In these instances, it is recommended that an attorney obtain your medical records. An attorney can best advise when certified copies are required.

In addition, many accident victims do not keep good records of medical treatment they have paid for or that their insurance company has paid for. Tracking down these records takes time. Being organized and bringing in your own documents will speed up the process.

Tentinger Law Firm