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11 posts categorized "Legal biz"

September 15, 2016

Lawyer who hit Rochester businesses on ADA issues is suspended

A Minneapolis lawyer, who filed suits against a variety of Rochester businesses last year for possible violations of the American Disability Act, has been suspended from practicing law.

Paul Robert Hansmeier threatened a string of lawsuits in Rochester last summer against at leaset eight Rochester businesses including, Bilotti's Pizzeria, Hillcrest Shopping Center and the Kahler Grand Hotel. Many of the businesses characterized the lawsuits as "a get rich quick scheme."

Today the Pioneer Press reported that Hansmeier has been suspended from practicing law in Minnesota. The story by Richard Chin stated that he was censured for profiting from actions that were essentially "a legal shakedown."

Here's some from Chin's article:

Paul Robert Hansmeier, 35, was engaged in the practice of filing “porno-trolling” lawsuits to make “easy money” on copyright cases, according to one federal judge. The court suspended him for a range of misconduct ranging from lying to the courts, failing to pay fees and filing frivolous lawsuits.

PaulhansmeierFindings in courts in the porn video copyright cases suggested that Hansmeier profited from what was described as a “legal shakedown” in so-called “John Doe” copyright-infringement lawsuits.

The John Doe defendants, people who downloaded pornographic movies, would be served with notice of a pending copyright violation lawsuit by Hansmeier or his associates, according to court documents.

The defendants usually took a settlement deal and paid a few thousand dollars instead of hiring an attorney to fight the lawsuit and suffer potential social stigma of being accused of stealing pornography.


According to one judge, Hansmeier and his colleagues “suffer from a form of moral turpitude unbecoming of an officer of the court.”


Hansmeier has also been criticized for filing a rash of lawsuits in Minnesota targeting businesses he claimed weren’t in compliance with disability access laws.

Hansmeier said Wednesday that he wasn’t sure if he would seek reinstatement as a lawyer four years from now, but that he would continue to work on behalf of the disabled





 who described himself as “a leader in the field” of suing people who illegally download videos from porn companies has been indefinitely suspended from practicing law by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Paul Hansmeier

, 35,

September 25, 2013

Bank building sells in downtown Rochester

Here's some from an article I have in today's edition about yet another major downtown Rochester real estate deal.


The rush for developers to stake out a claim in downtown Rochester continues this month, as the seven-story Associated Bank building was sold on Sept. 16 after months of speculation.

As of Oct. 1, all tenants of the building at 206 S. Broadway are to make out rent payments to Bloom International Realty, according to a letter from Oxford Property Management. Oxford, which is based in Rochester, will manage the building for the new owners.

52430f56ccab8.imageA series of major development projects have been launched since Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative to invest in Rochester's infrastructure, Mayo Clinic and the surrounding business community was launched earlier this year.

"We're not surprised. DMC represents an exciting new chapter for Rochester, which the marketplace is reacting to," said Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce President John Wade.

The tenants, which include the bank, the Dunlap & Seeger law firm, the O'Brien & Wolf law firm, Minnesota Public Radio and others, were told they need to vacate the building in 2015. Many tenants said off the record that they've heard the new owners will demolish the building to make make way for a new development, possibly a high-end hotel.

Mark Dixon, of Oxford Property Management, exchanged phone messages with the Post-Bulletin on Tuesday but could not connect for an interview. Dixon was meeting with a visiting international group, presumably the new owners of the Associated building.

Bloom is a foreign company that incorporated in Minnesota last week, according to state records. Some Rochester business leaders have said off the record that the new owners are Bloom Properties LLC, which is based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. If the Abu Dhabi firm is the new owner, it would raise the recent real estate activity to a new level. Bloom signed a deal with another firm this week to build a $4.5 billion residential project in Baghdad to house 150,000 people.

"The new owners have not only made an investment in downtown but want to be partners with our community going forward," said Wade, who has met with the new owners.

While he did not identify them, Wade said this is the first local investment by this group. However, they have had "a long relationship" with the city and are very familiar with Rochester.

January 13, 2013

Crossroads vs Wild Wings case could be nearing conclusion

After more than a year in legal limbo, the final fate of a plan to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester could possibly be officially resolved in the next few months.

On Thursday morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals is slated to hear the dispute between the owners of the Crossroads Shopping Center and BWW owner Graf Enterprises and as well as the City of Rochester.

6a00d83451cc8269e20167682ff83d970b-800wiThe Crossroads owners, Bob Meek and Vic Scott, are once again taking their objections to a higher court. They object to Tom Graf's development plan to build a 7,000-square-foot sports bar and eatery in front of the shopping center.

This all started when Graf purchased Pannekoeken Huis restaurant and then demolished it in September 2011 to clear space to build a south side version of his very popular, north Rochester Buffalo Wings sports bar.

He submitted a building plan to the city, which approved the project in December 2011. The Crossroads folks say the plan does not actually meet the city's requirements and should never have been OKed as it is.

The approved plan calls for 55 spaces — 35 on Graf's plot of land and 20 spaces in the surrounding Crossroads parking lot. The mall owners contend that that the 20 parking spaces on their property could limit future expansion plans. They say they would welcome the Buffalo Wild Wings, if all of the parking was restricted to land owned by Graf.

Meek and Scott first took their objections to the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals. When the board ruled in favor of the Graf project, Crossroads appealed to the Rochester City Council. The council backed the zoning board's decision.

Next the mall owners filed the lawsuit against Graf and the city of Rochester to appeal the council's ruling. In June, Olmsted County Judge Nancy Buytendorp dismissed the lawsuit saying, "Crossroads has no justifiable controversy to pursue this lawsuit against the city of Rochester or Graf…"

Crossroads responded by filing for an appeal of Buytendorp's ruling claiming she applied the wrong standard of judgment to the case.

As the case has been batted around courtrooms by attorneys, Graf has repeatedly said that no matter how case is finally resolved, he still plans to build a BWW on his land in front of Crossroads.

If he loses, he'll adjust the plans to meet the rules. If he wins definitively, then Graf will turn Weis Builders loose to start work on the square of dirt surrounded by Crossroads pavement  and in the shadow of "Coming Soon" sign.

On Thursday, a panel of three judges in St. Paul will give both sides 15 minutes each to make their case. Graf's attorney and the City of Rochester's attorney will split their side's 15 minutes.

The appeals court will have up to 90 days to issue a ruling on whether Judge Buytendorp's erred in her judgment in favor of Graf and the city.

One possible course of action that could stretch out this case even more would be a ruling that sends the case back to Olmsted County to be decided by a jury trial.

Even if that doesn't happen, it could still be a while before Graf's plan to build moves ahead.

November 03, 2011

Canned meat battle Spam vs Prem ends in a tie

Here's some from an article by the PB's legal eye Matt Russell about the resolution of Hormel Foods tussle with Netherlands-based Zwanenberg Food Group.

More of the article can be found here.


A trademark infringement case involving the iconic yellow and blue packaging of Spam food products has been dismissed in federal court.

PremA settlement between Austin-based Hormel Foods and Zwanenberg Food Group led to the dismissal of the suit by Judge David Doty Tuesday in U.S. District Court, with both parties agreeing to dismiss all claims and counterclaims.Spam_hormel_prem_Zwanenberg

Hormel filed the suit in March, alleging that Zwanenberg used packaging starting in 2010 on a competing product, Prem, that was "confusingly similar" to Spam.

While Zwanenberg altered the label design at Prem-12ozHormel's request, Hormel maintained that the new label still created confusion because it still used a yellow-on-blue color scheme. The products were sold in Japan and the Philippines, according to the complaint.

Zwanenberg responded that its packaging was unlikely to cause confusion with Hormel's packaging, adding that Spam's yellow lettering on a blue background "is generic and/or otherwise unprotectable as a matter of law."

October 28, 2011

Patently interesting chat at IBM with senators

Here's some from my piece on the patent reform discussion at IBM with Klobuchur and Franken.The full article is in print. As a bonus for my blog readers, here's some of the huge amount of quirky stuff from the event that I didn't have room to use.

IBMpatentroundtablewfrankenKlobuchur told how as 7-yr-old she dressed as a computer for Halloween. She also talked about a conversation she had with Warren Buffet and one of the topics was the increase in vascetomies during the economic downturn.

Franken was funny by not being funny. He had a couple jokes completely flop. He said the lost his sense of humor during the election recount. Franken had also said he was convinced he invented Post-it Notes as a child.

 Then he quipped that he blamed both losing Post-it Notes and the recount on 3M. He was quick to say that was a joke and suggested the press would run with that statement. Well, I didn't run with it. This is more of a stroll. Heh.

Franken also told a good story about Sputnik and the space race. It was a great story when he told it at IBM's 100th celebration in April. I'm not judging. I quite often recycle jokes and leads in my columns.

I do use some comments from IBM quote machine Drew Flaada in the print edition. He has great way with words to explains things clear and simply.


Being inventive is a key part of the culture at IBM Rochester.

Big Blue has led all U.S. companies every year for the past 18 years in patents, and its Rochester facility has been the leader in Minnesota in the past five years.

In 2010, IBM tallied a record-breaking 5,896 patents, with 8 percent of those coming from Rochester.

The hope now is that last month's bipartisan passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to reform and energize the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will make it easier and quicker for local IBMers and others to contribute even more patents.

IBM buildinglogoThat, in turn, will help revitalize the economy, said Sen. Amy Klobuchar to a crowd of inventors, engineers and others at an IBM Rochester event Thursday.

"We have to be a country that makes stuff again. One that invents things. One that exports to the world," she said.

Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken were in Rochester to talk about the patent reform bill they helped pass.

The bill, which launches in 2013, aims to clear the backlog of 700,000 patent applications. One change is that patent fees will increase 15 percent, generating money to pay for more staff.

As it is today, getting a patent is a slow and lengthy process. The average time from applying to being issued a patent is three years.

"That's a ridiculous length of time," Franken said. "I'm convinced these reforms will streamline the process and help companies like IBM. You need a patent system that works."

November 08, 2010

Supreme Court to hear Mayo Clinic case today

Remember that Mayo Clinic vs IRS case going to the U.S. Supreme Court?

I wrote an item on it at the start of October. Well, the latest stage of this case kicks off today.

The P-B's health reporter, Jeff Hansel, wrote this piece today as a reminder.


The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in the case Mayo Foundation v. United States, which will decide whether medical residents are students or employees.

Us_supreme_court_seal(1) Mayo, joined by the University of Minnesota, wants the court to declare that medical residents should be considered students so the institutions won't have to pay Social Security taxes.

The IRS instituted a rule change to require the clinic, the university and other institutions to pay the taxes. The clinic and the university sued.

The Supreme Court is reviewing a decision by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against Mayo in 2009.Mayo-clinic-logo

  Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself from the case because she submitted a brief supporting the government's view before she was named to the court.

According to Post-Bulletin archives, "the Social Security tax represents 12.4 percent of wages. Half of the tax is paid by the employer and half by the employee.

For a medical resident earning a $50,000 stipend, that represents $3,100 paid by the resident and $3,100 paid by the hospital."


October 22, 2010

Law firm to make a move

Even though I have teased the RDA's Jon Eckhoff about hammering away with the downtown Rochester catch phrase 'The Place To Be,' it must be subliminally influencing me.

Downtown has been all I've written about this week.

And if the word on the street is correct (And I'm pretty sure it is), I'll be having even more stories to write about soon. And that's no tall tale.

Anyway, here's what I wrote in my Thursday column about a historic law firm moving out of downtown:

When 2011 starts, expect a familiar name to be gone from Rochester's downtown.

 With some reluctance, the law office of Klampe, Delehanty & Morris is moving because it's outgrowing its space in the top of the historic building at 300 First Ave. N.W.

"We just ran out of room," says partner Mark Delehanty.

The firm is now made up of four attorneys and six support staff.

The law office,10222010klampedelehantyjk founded by the late Mike Klampe, is almost doubling its space by taking most of the fourth floor of the Olmsted National Bank building at U.S. 14 West and Superior Drive Northwest.

Delehanty says the idea of moving to a new almost 4,000-square-foot office with a panoramic view is exciting. However, it is sad to leave the downtown that he and the firm's staff have enjoyed for almost 30 years.

April 05, 2010

Roch. downtown complex + new tenant

The law is coming to the City Centre in downtown Rochester.

ViewImage A legal firm — Downing Dittrich & Lawrence — is changing as well as moving into the commercial complex built by Rochester developer Joe Weis. Lead attorney Larry Downing is retiring in April after a more than 40-year career. The plan is to continue the family firm as Dittrich & Lawrence.

"With Mr. Downing retiring, we are looking for a more efficient space that suits our needs better," says Amber Lawrence, a partner in the firm. Their office is now in the Wells-Fargo Bank building in downtown.

Lawrence and Steven Dittrich are working the final negotiations for the space on the building's second floor. The hope is make a move to the City Centre complex at the start of June.

"We're excited by the prospect to have a new space, a more modern office closer to the courthouse soon to have a skyway," Lawrence says.

Besides the two lawyers, two legal assistants and a legal secretary also staff the office.

Hamilton Real Estate is representing the building.

July 23, 2009

U.S. Bank sues parent of Shoppes on Maine developer

092607shoppes onmainelampsjk OK, it looks like U.S. Bank has filed suit against Opus Corp. of Minnetonka, Minn. "to recover from Opus and related entities $78.8 million plus interest and fees that it says it is owed," according to the always astute Sam Black @ the Minneapolis- St. Paul Business Journal.

This is the latest is kind of a run of not-so-great news for Opus. 

"Three of its five independent operating companies filed for bankruptcy this year; Opus South based in Atlanta and Opus West based in Phoenix filed for Chapter 11 and Opus East based in Rockville, Md. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy," according to Black's article.

How does this relate to Rochester?

Opus Northwest, an Opus offshoot, is one of the main developers, along with Rochester-based Hexum Cos., of the Shoppes on Maine massive shopping complex in south Rochester.

However, the elder Opus has said that it doesn't "expect" Opus Northwest or Opus North to file for bankruptcy.

Add it all up and there might be not impact to Shoppes on Maine or Rochester. Or there could.

The way things play out these days, it seems impossible to guess.

June 15, 2009

Lawyer returns to Austin

Here's some from a piece this morning by colleague in Austin, Karen Colbenson:

Business savvy Paul Egtvedt has worked with some of Minnesota’s top attorneys from Fortune 500 companies and has his own office in the IDS Tower in Minneapolis, but when his entrepreneurial spirit and heart called him back to his hometown, he listened.

Born and raised in Austin, Egtvedt worked for various large law firms in Minneapolis before opening his own law firm there in 2003. He recently decided to leave the big city behind and return to his original home to open a firm on Main Street.

His office is located on the top floor of the 111 building.

The graduate of Cornell University said he chose to return to Austin so he could be closer to his family and to marry and settle down with his fiancee, Heather Wittstruck, who teaches at Southgate Elementary School. 

He also believes his experience working on complex issues for large businesses will be beneficial in a smaller community like Austin.

Egtvedt practices in several areas of law, including employment, labor law, business and corporate law, personal injury, criminal defense and land use. He said he most enjoys working on employment issues because he’s intrigued by human behavior.