People & Practices: Feb. 1, 2021

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Minneapolis partner David Crosby will serve as Stinson LLP’s next deputy managing partner, alongside Kansas City-based Managing Partner-elect Allison Murdock. Their term will begin July 2021, at the conclusion of current Managing Partner Mark Hinderks’ term.

Crosby has held multiple leadership positions during his 27-year tenure at the firm. He currently serves as co-chair of a Business Litigation division and as a member of the firm’s associate evaluation committee. He completed a five-year term with Stinson’s board of directors in 2019. As deputy managing partner, Crosby will serve and support nearly 500 attorneys in Stinson’s 13 locations.

Crosby’s experience in both commercial and estate and trust litigation spans from handling billion-dollar family trust disputes to defending large software manufacturers in multidistrict class actions. He has also successfully argued numerous federal and state court appeals for clients across the country.

In addition to his leadership roles within the firm, Crosby has also served on the board of directors of the Conflict Resolution Center of Minnesota and the Minnesota Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Crosby earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law.

CHS Inc., an agribusiness cooperative based in Inver Grove Heights, has named Brandon Smith executive vice president and general counsel. Smith will join CHS in late March 2021. Smith succeeds James Zappa, the company’s executive vice president and general counsel since 2015. As part of his career transition plan, Zappa will assume another leadership role in the company.

Most recently, Smith served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at Tenneco Inc., a multinational industrial company based in Lake Forest, Illinois. Prior to joining Tenneco in 2008, Smith was an attorney with Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago.

Smith earned a law degree from Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York, and a bachelor’s degree from Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio. He is an active community volunteer, including serving as a board member for The 100 Club.

Moss & Barnett, A Professional Association, has named five new shareholders in its Minneapolis and St. Cloud offices.

Kathy Y. Allen represents lenders, borrowers, and servicers in connection with complex real estate and other commercial transactions, focusing on the areas of multifamily housing, finance development, and servicing. She primarily represents lenders who originate loans, which are later sold to Freddie Mac, for multifamily housing projects around the country.

Kelly C. Engebretson assists businesses and individuals with their litigation needs, including commercial and business disputes, construction disputes, shareholder disputes, professional liability claims, personal torts, and a variety of other areas. She also provides regulatory and compliance counsel for public utilities and represents those clients before state regulatory bodies in litigation matters.

Brittney M. Miller assists clients in all family-related matters, including parenting, support, division of assets, stepparent and same-sex adoptions, antenuptial agreements, and many other issues confronting modern families. She has extensive experience with cases involving complex social and financial issues at both the trial and appellate court levels.

John M. Schmid primarily represents lenders that originate and sell multifamily mortgage loans to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. In all aspects of his practice, he examines and resolves title issues affecting real estate. He works with clients to help close their deals in diverse markets all over the country, many with complex features such as targeted affordable housing, ground lease transactions, and joint ventures.

Alex R. Schoephoerster provides strategic advice to clients in the areas of contract law, entity formation, fundraising, commercial transactions, estate planning and succession planning, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, buy-sell agreements, and general business practices. He is also well-known for advising emerging companies and entrepreneurs on a suite of startup and growth matters.

Julie N. Nagorski, partner/co-chair of DeWitt LLP’s Litigation Practice Group, has been appointed to the Minnesota State Bar Real Property Certification Board. The board has eight members who serve a three-year term.

The Certification Board is responsible for drafting, reviewing and grading certification examinations; making decisions regarding the certification/decertification of applicants and current specialists; reviewing the certification standards and proposing any changes; and overseeing the administration of the Real Property Certification program. Currently there are 314 attorneys in Minnesota who are MSBA Certified Real Property Law Specialists.

Nagorski has significant experience litigating disputes in numerous areas of the law, with a focus on real property and construction disputes. Nagorski earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

Bassford Remele announces that Casey D. Marshall has been elected to shareholder, and Kathryn L. Babb, Bryce D. Riddle, Lauren C. Curtright, Khuram M. Siddiqui, and Gillian L. Gilbert have become associates of the firm.

Casey Marshall is a litigator who represents corporations and individuals in commercial disputes, and navigates families, businesses, and individuals through trust and estate conflicts. Experienced in the litigation process, Marshall regularly represents clients in shareholder and securities disputes, as well as other business-related claims, in multiple jurisdictions. He represents clients in probate, state, federal, and appellate courts, recently helping resolve multiple proceedings initiated by beneficiaries of trusts and disputes between shareholders in closely held corporations.

Kathryn Babb is a litigator who focuses her practice in the areas of general liability, products liability, professional liability, and employment law. She has experience defending large and small companies in alternative dispute resolution and trial. Babb is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law.

Bryce Riddle focuses his practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation, insurance coverage, construction, general liability, and tort litigation. He has significant class action experience. Riddle graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Elizabeth V. Cutter and the Honorable Bridget A. Sullivan at Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District.

Lauren Curtright focuses her practice in the areas of employment litigation, products liability, and professional and organizational liability. Prior to joining Bassford Remele, Curtright served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jamie L. Cork at Minnesota’s First Judicial District. Curtright graduated from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

Khuram Siddiqui focuses his practice in the areas of general liability, construction, and professional liability. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. During law school, Siddiqui competed on the University of Minnesota’s Bankruptcy Moot Court Team and served as a student attorney in the University of Minnesota’s Bankruptcy Clinic where he assisted clients in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Gillian Gilbert focuses her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law, and trusts and estates litigation. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. During law school, Gilbert was a member of the University of Minnesota’s Litigation and Trial Advocacy Group. She also undertook a significant research project analyzing gendered narratives surrounding human rights violations, mentored by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Counter-Terrorism.

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‘No, no, no:’ Suspect in Alberta doctor’s death won’t have a lawyer in November trial

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The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Justice Minister David Lametti isn’t ruling out the possibility of asking the Supreme Court to advise on the constitutionality of a bill to expand access to assisted dying. Testifying to the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee Monday, Lametti said a reference to the top court, rather than waiting for a specific case to make its way there through lower courts, is always a possibility. But he made it clear he’s not convinced of its value. “It always remains an option but I’ve never been convinced that it’s our best option,” he told the committee. Lametti’s office later added in an email statement: “For greater emphasis, we have no plans to ask for a constitutional reference on medical assistance in dying.” But while the government may have no plans to refer Bill C-7 to the top court, it may be forced by the Senate to reconsider the matter. Senators seem determined to propose amendments. And the idea of an amendment that calls for immediate referral to the Supreme Court appears to have support both among senators who think the bill doesn’t go far enough to ease the rules on assisted dying and those who think it goes too far. Some senators who believe the bill is too restrictive have argued that it would be more humane to refer it to the Supreme Court directly, rather than force intolerably suffering people to spend time, money and effort challenging the legislation in lower courts. Other senators, who believe the bill discriminates against people with disabilities, have argued that the top court needs to weigh in before the law is changed to expand eligibility for assisted dying to people who are not already near the natural end of their lives. The committee heard Monday from legal experts on both sides of the equation who agreed the bill should be referred to the Supreme Court. The bill is intended to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling, which the federal government chose not to appeal. It struck down a provision that allows assisted dying only for those whose natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.” Lametti acknowledged that Bill C-7 could well be challenged as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But he said his goal is to reduce individuals’ suffering as quickly as possible and argued that passing C-7 is the fastest way to do that. He noted that references to the top court take time. It took 14 months for the Supreme Court to render its advice on Senate reform in 2014. “I think this is a more expeditious way forward to alleviate the suffering of people more quickly,” Lametti said. “Yes, there will be potential challenges but we think … we’ve really narrowed both the scope and the time frame for those constitutional challenges.” Bill C-7 would scrap the reasonably foreseeable death requirement to qualify for an assisted death. But it sets up two eligibility tracks, relaxing some rules for those who are near death and imposing stricter conditions for those who are not. It explicitly prohibits assisted dying for anyone suffering solely from mental illness — an exclusion that many legal experts have said violates the charter guarantee of equal treatment under the law, regardless of physical or mental disability. The committee is holding three daylong hearings on the bill this week before sending it back to the Senate as a whole. Lametti urged senators to deal with it expeditiously, leaving sufficient time for cabinet to consider proposed amendments and, if necessary, put them to a vote in the House of Commons and send the bill back to the Senate — all before the court-imposed deadline of Feb. 26. The committee heard from a number of witnesses Monday who echoed the concerns of disability rights groups that the bill sends a message that life with a disability is not worth living. Among them was Gerard Quinn, the United Nations special rapporteur for the rights of persons with disabilities. He acknowledged that the government must try to balance the autonomy rights of people with disabilities who want to choose an assisted death with the reality of the “ecosystem” in which they live, often in poverty and without the health and social supports necessary to make a real choice. “I think the idea of some sort of reference to your Supreme Court to really think through the balancing between these two rights is actually where it’s at and I’m not sure that that’s been done well thus far,” Quinn said. Dalhousie University law professor Wayne MacKay agreed that “this concern needs more thought and judicial input.” MacKay and former senator Serge Joyal, a constitutional law expert, both argued that the top court should also weigh in on the proposed exclusion of people suffering solely from mental illnesses — an exclusion they both believe is unconstitutional. Sen. Brent Cotter, who sits in the Independent Senators Group, said “the debates and concerns we’re hearing now cry out for an authoritative answer” from the Supreme Court. Some senators have raised the idea of a sunset clause on the mental illness exclusion, giving the government a year to come up with appropriate safeguards to allow those suffering solely from mental conditions to access assisted dying. Joyal said such a clause must be clear that people with mental illnesses would still be able to seek a court-ordered assisted death while the government is developing its guidelines. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb, 1, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Thinking about your legacy: Pandemic has many Albertans considering how best to pass wealth to next generation after they’re gone

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“But they also want to, in many cases, leave a charitable legacy behind when they’re no longer here.”

Estate considerations always revolve around, first and foremost, a will. It’s a must-have, he says.

But planning the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next is generally about so much more.

Certainly, the will is a good starting place. It’s important no matter how old clients are because it provides instructions on not only what to do with their finances, but offers direction on other considerations like dividing property, who will care for dependents, and even care plans for beloved pets.

Yet with age and wealth accumulation often comes more complexity. Many baby boomers and generation Xers may be confident they have more than enough savings to have a comfortable retirement. So the attention then turns to what to do with the rest of their wealth, Hamans adds.

“What is really important to them?”

That often leads to thinking of their own parents, for example, who may have received excellent care at a hospital prior to their death.

“So maybe the discussion then is about leaving a charitable gift to a hospital.”

For those hoping to support charities and other causes close to the heart, a wealth advisor can suggest tax and legal professionals who can craft an estate plan to create a legacy of giving.

Then again, some folks prefer to see their gift make an impact, Hamans adds.

“Here’s where the integration of estate planning, tax planning and financial planning become so valuable.”