Perspectives

News

Join Our Team!

There are a number of exciting employment opportunities at Wagner, Falconer & Judd right now. If you or someone you know is looking for a job with an established law firm and fun, fast-paced team environment, look no further!

Employment Practice Attorney

WFJ is seeking an employment attorney to serve our growing employment law needs. Ideal applicant would have 2-4 years of employment law experience, a strong focus on customer service, and an interest in the evolving legal service industry delivery models. The successful candidate will have immediate client exposure and hands-on client interaction and must be positive, self-motivated, adaptable, high energy, and enjoy working in a fast-paced team environment. Applicants should have strong interpersonal skills, and an eagerness to help solve HR problems. Great salary with full range of benefits available.

Small Business Attorney

WFJ is seeking an entrepreneurial business law attorney to serve our growing small business clientele’s formation, acquisition, contract and employment needs. An ideal applicant would have 2-4 years of business experience, a strong focus on customer service, and an interest in the evolving legal service industry delivery models. The successful candidate will have immediate client exposure and hands-on client interaction and must be positive, self-motivated, adaptable, high energy and enjoy working in a fast-paced team environment. Great salary with full range of benefits available.

General Practice Attorney

WFJ is seeking a general practice attorney with a passion for service that is licensed to practice law in any of the following states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Montana The lawyer would assist the firm in servicing its contract for a group services legal plan with thousands of members across the state. This is a unique opportunity to service a market of individuals, families, and small businesses that are often otherwise priced out of traditional models of access to legal services. The position involves assisting clients with their legal needs through telephonic consultations, document review, legal research, and limited scope representation in many different areas of law. Applicants should have strong interpersonal skills, and an eagerness to help people solve problems. We work in a collegial, team-oriented environment, with offices in Billings, MT, Brookfield, WI, and Minneapolis, MN. We value work-life balance, offer telecommuting options to qualified employees, as well as a competitive salary and benefits package.

Litigation/Injury Attorney

WFJ is seeking an entrepreneurial injury law attorney with at least 5 years of experience to lead its injury practice. The successful candidate will work with the firm’s executive committee to grow the firm’s regional injury practice which services a large clientele of over 40,000 individuals in the upper Midwest. Excellent legal skills and superior customer service are a must. Applicants should have strong interpersonal skills, an eagerness to help people solve problems, a true caring for the client’s well-being, an understanding of social media marketing strategies, and a dedication to fostering long-term relationships with our clients. Our firm is dedicated to providing extraordinary legal representation to our clients and outstanding customer service, all in a fun, positive, team orientated environment for our employees.

Accounting Specialist

WFJ is looking for an accounting specialist who can handle a wide range of administrative support and office related tasks. Individuals must deliver outstanding service to our clients and have strong computer skills, including QuickBooks, Excel and Word. Other tasks will include data entry, invoicing and billing, deposits, and assisting with reporting. Candidates need to be well organized and able to handle confidential information. Person must be positive, self-motivated, energetic, and enjoy working on a fast-paced team . Full-time position with full range of benefits and onsite gym.

Customer Service Specialist

WFJ is seeking an experienced customer service specialist to join our growing team. This position is responsible for assisting both internal and external clients and our team of attorneys in a professional manner. We are looking for someone that thrives on helping others and who can deliver award winning service. The right candidate will possess strong leadership and communication skills, have a passion for helping others, possess a high level of integrity and be detail oriented. If you are a passionate person who thrives in a team environment and truly care about making a difference in the lives of others, this might be the right role for you. This a full-time role with daytime hours from Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00 and offers a wide range of employee benefits.

 

If you think you would be a good fit for one of these positions, please reach out to us at jobs@wfjlawfirm.com.

Project and Customer Red Flags-Commercial Collections

Sometimes it’s easy to look at a project or customer through rose colored glasses. Especially in a time when you are overworked, understaffed, and worried that the well of work might dry up. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for certain red flags that can majorly impact your ability to be paid on time. Or at all.

The attorneys at WFJ have been supporting construction companies for decades, and we’ve compiled a list of a few things that often lead to trouble later down the road.

  • Project Owner not paying general contractor or having financial problems
  • General contractor not paying your customer or having financial problems
  • Any party in contract chain files bankruptcy or is placed in receivership
  • General contractor or customer tells you to file a lien or bond claim
  • General contractor/subcontractor is terminated
  • Customer pays creditor on one project with proceeds from another project
  • Customer having difficulty obtaining credit, shopping for business loans
  • Quasi-public/private project
  • Tenant improvement projects
  • Customer not paying on time or paying in irregular amounts
  • NSF checks (to you or others)
  • Customer sells business or is talking about selling business
  • Loss of line of credit
  • Dismissal of key financial personnel
  • Problems covering payroll
  • Principal or third-party revokes personal guaranty
  • Secured party repossesses customer’s equipment or other collateral
  • Lawsuits or judgements
  • Federal or State Tax liens

 

Sometimes customers and projects don’t show any immediate red flags. If you are having trouble collecting on a project, it might be time to place your claims with Wagner, Falconer & Judd. Contact us to learn more about getting started.

Could Paying Your Rent on Time Improve your Credit Score?

The short answer, sometimes. If you are looking for a way to improve your credit score, but don’t have much of a credit history, you’re rent history could be considered.

All three major credit bureaus accept payment history if they receive it. You aren’t allowed to self-report your on-time rent payments, but there are several rent reporting services that range in price. (Your landlord might even offer to cover this expense, as most of these services offer other resources to support those managing properties.)

Paying your rent on time isn’t going to immediately boost your credit score, especially if you already have a score over 620, but a 2017 TransUnion study reported an average increase of 16 points within 6 months of reporting for consumers with a credit score below 600.

Typically, it takes at least 3-6 months of good credit behavior to see a noticeable change in your credit score. It is difficult to make a change any faster, unless the negative information on your credit report was a minor blip, like being late with bill payments one month.

Here are some time frames for negative information that detracts from your credit score:

  • A delinquent account remains on your credit report for 7 years
  • Car prepossession stays on your report for 7 years
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy is on your report for 10 years. Chapter 13 remains for 7 years
  • Credit application inquires remain on your report for 2 years
  • Public record items such as property liens are on your report for 7 years.

 

Consumers have numerous options for reviewing, consolidating, and appealing information on their credit reports. It’s hard to know which option is best for your unique situation, so let the experienced attorneys at Wagner, Falconer & Judd simplify that for you. The sooner you take charge of your credit report, the sooner you can improve your score-so reach out to us today!

5 New MN State Laws We Think You Should Know About

Unless you spend your day refreshing the Minnesota State Legislation website, you may have missed some of the new laws that have been passed so far in 2021. Don’t worry, it’s our job to pay attention- and we are happy to report back to you!

 

  1. Insurers Cannot Discriminate Against Those with Prescriptions that Interfere with Opiates

Prescription for opiate antagonist: When determining whether to issue, renew, cancel, or modify a policy of life insurance, an insurer may not make an underwriting determination based solely on information revealing that a proposed insured has a prescription for an opiate antagonist.

 

2.  Statutory Deadlines Suspended During Peacetime Emergency

An act relating to civil actions; suspending the expiring of statutory deadlines imposed upon judicial proceedings during a peacetime emergency; Deadlines governing proceedings in district and appellate courts suspended during peacetime emergency. Deadlines imposed by statues governing proceedings in the district and appellate courts, including any statute of limitations or other time periods prescribed by the statute shall not expire from the beginning of the peacetime emergency declared on March 13, 2020 in governor’s executive order 20-01 through April 15, 2021. Nothing in this statute prevents a court from holding a hearing, requiring and appearance, or issuing an order during the peacetime emergency if the judge determines that individual circumstances relevant to public safety, personal safety, or other emergency matters require action in a specific case. This section is effective the day following final enactment and applies to all deadlines that had not expired as of March 13, 2020 and that would have expired during the period starting March 13, 2020 and ending April 15, 2021.

 

3. Department of Corrections to Provide Resources to Those Recently Released

An act relating to corrections; requiring that certain information, assistance, services and medications be provided to inmates upon release from prison; providing identification cards for released inmates, requiring a homelessness mitigation plan and annual reporting on information related to homelessness.

“Beginning July 1, the Department of corrections will have to provide health and other information to people leaving the prison system. The idea is to help ease their re-entry into the community. People leaving prison must also receive a month’s supply of their medication and a prescription for two months of refills. The department must help them apply for MinnesotaCare or Medical assistance if the person wants it. The department must also provide a range of information such whether the person can vote and whether they owe court-ordered payments or fines.

 

4. Frontline Workers Who Contract Covid-19 Able to Claim Worker’s Compensation Through 2021

First responders, health care workers and child care providers who serve those groups will be able to claim worker’s compensation if they contract COVID-19 through 2021 thanks to an extension of the policy passed in April. It first took effect las year and established the presumption that the people on the front lines who developed a COVID infection were exposed to it in the workplace unless their employer could prove others.

 

5. New Law Sets Energy-Saving Goals

This law, three years in the making, “will strengthen Minnesota’s energy conservation programs, reduce greenhouse as emissions and create jobs across the state, “according to a May press release from the governor’s office. The law sets energy-saving goals and requires documentation of progress toward those goals. It took effect when Walz signed it May 25.

 

Want to see all the laws passed so far this year? Visit Minnesota State Legislation’s website to read the full list of statutes.

 

Have questions? Our attorneys are always available to work with you on your legal needs.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Small Business Reorganization Act – A Welcome Relief to Small Business Owners.

Small businesses are a pillar of the American economy. In 2005, Congress enacted Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act to allow small business owners easier options for reorganization.

After almost 15 years, Congress realized small business debtors were the least likely to have a successful reorganization while still having a high number of small business failures.

On August 23, 2019, Congress passed the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA). The SBRA is a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy under the new subchapter, Subchapter V.

The SBRA has new requirements as to which individuals or entities will qualify under Subchapter V, as well as new procedures. These features were added to allow small business to avoid some of the burdensome costs and time typically associated with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The highlights of the SBRA are as follows:

  1. Debt limit has a baseline of total debt at $2,725,625;
  2. Elimination of the absolute-priority rule for creditors;
  3. Appointment of a trustee, similar to those appointed in Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code; and
  4. Less strenuous disclosure statements and more debtor-friendly rules governing the plan requirements.

The complexity of filing bankruptcy for small businesses owners and small business debtors may be lessened by these new changes, the option to file under Subchapter V will keep many businesses operating.

The changes brought forth by the SBRA are exciting and a welcoming change to the law. There are many factors for small business owners to consider before filing of a reorganization bankruptcy. As always, it is best to consult with your LegalShield provider firm for a more detailed analysis.

Posted on April 14, 2020

The Importance of Living Will in Today’s New Circumstances

What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is an important health care document in estate planning as it provides clear and unambiguous directions of a person’s healthcare wishes at a time when they cannot speak for themselves. It avoids uncertainty at a time when emotions are naturally high and where family members may have conflicting wishes. It is not a Testamentary Will, as it does not dispose of property or make bequests under State law. The Living Will is both a statement of a person’s wishes and a guide for family and healthcare providers.

Details of a Living Will
The person for whom the Living Will is prepared is called the declarant. This document provides the declarant with the right to direct future medical services at a time when the declarant is unable to speak with or consult with their doctor. The document becomes effective only in an extreme end-of-life situation. In the Living Will the declarant may direct the attending physician not to administer life-sustaining treatment including CPR or technologically provided nutrition and hydration. If such treatment has already started the Living Will may provide that such treatment shall be withdrawn. The document may include a directive of do not resuscitate.

Both the declarant’s attending physician and a second physician must certify that the patient is terminally ill, permanently unconscious, and will not feel pain or discomfort from the withholding or withdrawal of such treatment. Even under this diagnosis it is the agent named by the declarant in the living will, termed the attorney in fact, who ensures that the patient’s wishes are carried out by the healthcare provider and attending physician. It is not healthcare professional who decides to withdraw or withhold treatment. State law typically requires that the attorney in fact be notified of the declarant’s condition. Thus it is important to keep this information updated. Without the Living Will the healthcare provider for the a patient in the extreme terminal condition cannot withdraw or withhold treatment at the request of the family including a spouse or adult child, even if the patient previously expressed this wish verbally.

The form and content of the Living Will must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction where the declarant resides. This often requires two adult witnesses or a notary to witness the signature of the declarant. The declarant must be legally competent to sign and, once signed, the Living Will should be given to both the declarant’s doctor as well as the attorney-in-fact including an alternate if so named. These standards vary by State to State. An attorney should be consulted to assure compliance with the rules of your jurisdiction.

The attorney-in-fact should be someone who knows what the declarant’s wishes, be willing to see that those wishes are carried out, and typically must be 18 years of age or older. This document may be amended or revoked by the declarant. Some states ask an applicant during the driver’s license application process if they have a Living Will. The applicant can request that their driver’s licenses indicate that such a document has been executed or signed.

Why Have a Living Will Now When You Are in Good Health?
Clients will often ask why a Living Will is necessary when they are in good health and do not have a family history of any serious illnesses or diseases. It is a document that, hopefully, is never needed but in the event that than an unexpected catastrophic medical situation occurs it can alleviate uncertainty, disagreements among loved ones and provide the patient’s wishes are followed. We have all heard about situations where family members cannot agree on the wishes of the patient, leading to legal action as the healthcare provider cannot and will not withhold or withdraw treatment if there is no Living Will.

Many people are concerned that it is the healthcare provider who makes the decision to withdraw or withhold treatment but this is not the case. The healthcare providers make the diagnosis and present it to the attorney-in-fact. It is the attorney-in-fact who instructs the healthcare providers, on behalf of the declarant, to withhold withdraw treatment

Some years ago a case in Florida made national news concerning a young married woman who had been in a coma for several years and whose doctors determined that she would not recover and would remain in a permanent vegetative state. Her husband attempted to have the doctors remove her from the respirator but her parents intervened and after protracted and expensive litigation the court determined that the respirator could be removed. She passed away 13 days later. A Living Will is a very personal and important document that can avoid years of uncertainty and conflict as to what a person’s medical wishes might be. It allows the individual to dictate what their treatment and healthcare would be in this very extreme medical situation.

If you have any questions or concerns about this paperwork please consult your attorney. In this time of widespread disease it is a crucial document that can easily be drafted to comply with State regulations, protect and ensure that an individual’s healthcare wishes are carried out, and provide family and friends with clear and unambiguous directions end-of-life situation.

Posted April 2020

COVID-19 and its Affect on Domestic Violence Victims

As many Americans hunker down in their homes obeying Stay at Home Orders, Domestic Violence is on the rise. Victims who are normally able to escape their abuser for eight hours during the average workday can no longer count on that break.

As more and more people lose their jobs everyday, financial stress, fear, and isolation can drastically change a household. In fact, staying home can be deadly to some due to these climate changes.

Domestic Violence comes in many shapes and forms and is not always physical. Domestic Violence does not discriminate and people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations can fall victim.

While it seems like the world is on lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are still plenty of resources to help you through whatever you may be experiencing.

What are those resources?

Call 9-1-1
While it may seem obvious, calling your local police should always be your first step when you feel unsafe. However, If you do not feel safe calling the police due to lack of privacy, there are other options.

Get out of the House
While Stay at Home orders require you to not leave your home, except for essential services, this does not apply to domestic violence victims who are in imminent harm if they continue to stay home. If you feel unsafe, it is important to leave immediately to stay with a friend, family, or co-worker. If you have nowhere to go, there are various safe shelter options. Crisis Centers, like Minnesota’s DayOne and Wisconsin’s Bridge to Hope, can help you find a safe place to stay.

Call a Crisis Center
Crisis hotlines like Minnesota’s DayOne and Wisconsin’s Bridge to Hope can provide help 24/7/365. There are also national hotlines available and hotlines that tailor to each and every relationship.

Helplines are helpful in both lending an ear and helping you find resources. If you need a place to stay, they can help you find a safe shelter. If you need someone to talk to, they can help you find a counselor. Whatever your needs are, these hotline operators will speak to you in a confidential and respectful manner, while helping you out in your time of need.

DayOne Crisis Hotline
866-223-1111
Minnesota hotline for those experiencing domestic violence

Bridge to Hope
800-924-9918
Wisconsin hotline for those experiencing domestic violence

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-7233

Casa de Esperanza (Espanol)
651-772-1611

National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline
Videophone: 855-812-1001
deafhelp@thehotline.org

ThinkSelf-Deaf Advocacy Services
Videophone: 651-829-9089
Text Hotline: 621-399-9995

OutFront Minnesota
612-822-0127
LGBTQ+ Anti-Violence Crisis Line

Room to Be Safe
414-856-5428

LoveIsRespect.org
866-331-9474
For Teens Experiencing Dating Violence

StrongHearts Native Helpline
844-762-8483
Native American Domestic Violence Helpline

File an Order for Protection
While courts are closed for all non-essential business, courts in every state are still hearing cases where someone has filed an Order for Protection. An Order for Protection filed with the court may save your life if you are being abused.

Domestic Abuse is defined as occurring to a family or household member if committed by a family or household member. A household member as:

• Spouse or former spouse;
• Parents and children;
• Persons related by blood;
• Persons who are currently live together or who have lived together in the past;
• Persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether they have been married or  have lived together at any time;
• A man or woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is the alleged to be father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time or;
• Persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

Call our experienced attorneys to get further information on how and where to file an Order for Protection in your state.

The main thing to remember when you are suffering from Domestic Abuse, no matter where it is occuring, is that it is not your fault and there is help available. There are much better options than to stay at home and risk your life.

If you have specific questions or wish to speak to an attorney regarding your case or any of the options above, please reach out to one of our experienced attorneys.

Posted April 10, 2020

View More