Notable Decisions

Wolfe v. BNSF Railway Company

749 F.3d 859

(9th Cir. 2014)

Overview: Hired by a Montana firm after the dismissal of all of their client’s claims on the basis of the Railway Labor Act’s preemption of Montana law, Sharon successfully argued for reversal on appeal to the Ninth circuit Court of Appeals. Her client’s claim for mismanagement and employee negligence were successfully reinstated for trial.

Frazier v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.

811 N.W.2d 618

(Minn. 2012)

Overview: From the drafting of the Complaint through final resolution at the Minnesota Supreme Court, Sharon acted as the motion-practice team member and appellate counsel to a team of lawyers who successfully brought claims on behalf of four families against BNSF Railway Company for the death of their children at a railroad crossing. Sharon succeeded in persuading the trial judge that evidence had been hidden, destroyed, and fabricated. The result was a $24 Million jury verdict in favor of the families, and a $4.2 Million sanctions award against the railroad for litigation misconduct.

Thompson v. Hirano Tecseed Co, Ltd.

456 F.3d 805

(8th Cir. 2006)

Overview: The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in this product liability case, holding that the trial court impermissibly decided a question of fact in arriving at its legal conclusion, and that the plaintiff who lost her arm in an industrial accident had made out a prima facie case against the manufacturer of the equipment on which she was injured.

Kastner v. Star Trails Ass’n

646 N.W.2d 235

Minn. 2003

Overview: In this case, the Minnesota Supreme Court adopted the Collateral Order Doctrine, a federal court doctrine that permits an immediate appeal of an otherwise unappealable order.  In advocating that this doctrine be adopted in Minnesota, Sharon was able to save her client the considerable time and expense associated with being forced to go through a trial before a dispositive issue can be reviewed by an appellate court.

Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. v. Reed

662 N.W.2d 529

Minn. 2003

Overview: Overruling the Court of Appeals and the trial court, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the victim of a baby shaking had the right to his day in court against the insurer of the perpetrator on the issue of whether the acts of the insured child care provider were negligent or intentional; the victim’s challenge to the insurer’s claim that the acts were intentional were not collaterally stopped on the basis of the insured child care provider’s criminal conviction.

Englund v. Minnesota CA Partners/Minnesota Joint Ventures

555 N.W.2d 328

(Minn. App. 1996)

Overview: Summary judgment in favor of a hotel was improper where plaintiff presented facts that, if believed, would allow a jury to conclude that the hotel violated its on-sale liquor license when it sold alcohol to a patron who carried the alcohol off premises to drink it before driving into the victim. Held: Violation of the terms of an on-sale liquor license forms the basis for a dram shop action.

Kaiser v. Memorial Blood Center, Inc.

486 N.W.2d 762

(Minn. 1992)

Overview: The six year statute of limitations applied to a patient’s action alleging negligence on the part of blood banks in the selection of blood donors and screening of blood products rather than the two year limitations period governing medical malpractice.