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News & Articles

Valerie Sims Named to MSBA Civil Trial Specialist Board

October 18th, 2016

We are pleased to share that the MSBA Civil Litigation Leadership Council unanimously nominated and approved Valerie Sims as a new member to the Civil Trial Specialist Board.  In Minnesota, less than 500 attorneys are certified as civil trial specialists.  As a member of the Board, Valerie joins an elite group of trial specialists who review and approve those seeking certification as a MSBA Civil Trial Specialist.  Congratulations!


Official Immunity for Private Engineering Firms Acting As City Engineer

August 12th, 2016

Engineering firms in Minnesota that contract with a municipality to serve as the city engineer recently received a significant victory in the Minnesota Supreme Court. In its decision in Kariniemi v. City of Rockford, A14-0796,  __ N.W.2d ___ (Minn. July 27, 2016), the supreme court ruled that private engineering firms that serve as city engineer for a municipality qualify as a “public official,” and therefore, may be entitled to common-law official immunity for discretionary conduct relating to the feasibility, design, and progress of public works projects.  The court likewise ruled that the municipality contracting with the private engineering firm to serve as city engineer may be entitled to vicarious official immunity for the alleged negligent acts of its “non-employee City Engineer.” Steve Buterin has prepared a short summary of the decision, which can be found here.

The decision in Kariniemi will likely have a significant impact on engineering firms throughout Minnesota that contract with municipalities to serve as city engineer.  To learn more about the decision in Kariniemi and its potential impact on engineering firms throughout Minnesota, please feel free to contact Steve Buterin at 952.841.2500, or by email at: sbuterin@heleyduncan.com.

Congratulations to Our 2016 “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars”

July 14th, 2016


Heley, Duncan & Melander, PLLP is pleased to announce that 7 of its attorneys have been included on the lists of “2016 Minnesota Super Lawyers” and “2016 Minnesota Rising Stars” published by Super Lawyers.  We are especially honored by the selection of Mark Heley to the list of “Top 100” attorneys in Minnesota.  Attorneys are nominated by their peers and evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.  Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive the honor of “Super Lawyer,” and only 2.5 percent of lawyers are recognized as “Rising Stars.  Please join us in congratulating our “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars.”


2016 Minnesota Super Lawyers

2016 Minnesota Rising Stars

New Appellate Rules for 2016

July 1st, 2016

As of July 1, 2016, e-service and filing is mandatory for all pending and new appeals in Minnesota.  In addition, a number of other significant rule changes came into effect.  A cautionary note for anyone initiating a new appeal – the appellate courts’ EMACS and the district court eFS system are separate and do not “talk” to one another.  So, what is electronically served and filed in one court is not automatically done in the other court.  The failure to properly serve and file the documents necessary to start an appeal can result in the appeal being dismissed.  Steve Buterin has prepared a short guide of the new rule changes and a checklist of what must be electronically filed in which courts.  If you have questions about these new rule changes or navigating the appeals process in Minnesota, feel free to contact Steve.

Don McNeil is Featured on Magazines

March 1st, 2016

March 2016 Don McNeil is featured on the cover of two magazines recognizing his work in the same year!  In May 2015, Don was featured on the cover ofAttorney at Law magazine as Attorney of the Month.  Don was also recognized on the cover of Hennepin Lawyer as the recipient of the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award of Excellence for a Private Attorney.  Don will receive the award at the annual bar benefit on March 10, 2016.  Congratulations Don!

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Stephen Buterin Achieved a Favorable Ruling

May 1st, 2015

May 2015 Heley Duncan & Melander PLLP attorney Stephen Buterin achieved a favorable ruling on behalf of his client from the Minnesota Supreme Court on May 20, 2015. The case, Contractors Edge, Inc. v. City of Mankato, 863 N.W.2d 765 (Minn. 2015), reversed a Minnesota Court of Appeals order dismissing the appeal as untimely because Contractors Edge did not immediately appeal the partial summary judgment, which the district court had certified as final under Minn. R. Civ. P. 54.02.  The supreme court ruled that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the summary judgment order as a final partial judgment because the parties did not request certification, the claims at issue arose from the same set of facts, and the district court did not explain why certification was necessary and the record did not provide a basis supporting certification.  Because the order was improperly certified, the supreme court held it was not a final partial judgment that was immediately appealable and could be challenged in an appeal taken from a final judgment. The decision itself is here:http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/sc/current/OPA140223-052015.pdf

Valerie Sims joins Heley, Duncan & Melander

April 1st, 2015

Heley Duncan & Melander PLLP is thrilled to announce Valerie Sims has joined the firm as a partner.  Valerie brings exceptional trial skills to the firm’s litigation practice.

Jeff Scott and Brian Varland Joins Heley, Duncan & Melander

January 1st, 2014

We are happy to announce that Jeff Scott and Brian Varland were invited to join our partnership effective January 1, 2014.  We are excited with the two new additions to our partnership!

Five of our attorneys were recently recognized again as “Super Lawyers”

August 1st, 2011

Five of our attorneys were recently recognized again as “Super Lawyers” in Minnesota Law & Politics annual survey. Mark Heley, Tim Duncan and Don McNeilwere each named as a lawyer that other lawyers recommend. We congratulate our colleagues.

Three of our attorneys were recognized as “Rising Stars.” Eric HeibergSteve Little and John Markert were named in the annual survey in Minnesota Law & Politics as some of the notable Minnesota attorneys that are making a name for themselves in the legal profession. We congratulate these three outstanding attorneys.

Mark J. Heley Inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers

March 1st, 2011

Mark J. Heley was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers at a ceremony held in Key Biscayne, Florida. The ACCL has a limited membership of 175 Fellows worldwide including members in Canada, Australia, France, and the United States. Membership in the College is by invitation only upon nomination and election and aspires to limit membership to the top 1% of the construction bar. Prospective members must devote the majority of their professional time to the practice or teaching of construction law for at least ten years immediately preceding nomination, demonstrate significant and outstanding service and contribution to the practice of construction law, and demonstrate the highest of ethical and professional standards of practice.