Advocacy: Legislation and Rules, Litigation, Programs and Projects, and Committees, Associations and Volunteering

Lawrence Reed McDonough

Attorney at Law



Executive Orders

Legislation and Rules

Selected Litigation

Programs and Projects

Organizations, Committees, Associations, and Volunteering

Executive Orders


Advocated for suspension of evictions during the viral pandemic, resulting in Executive Order 20-14, 2020 Bill Text MN E.O. 14 (Mar. 23, 2020), Executive Order 20-73, 2020 Bill Text MN E.O. 73 (June 5, 2020), and Executive Order 20-79, 2020 Bill Text MN E.O. 79 (July 14, 2020).

Legislation and Rules


Lobbied for and drafted all or part of legislation since 1985, and almost all of the landlord and tenant laws in Minnesota since 1989


Proposed and co-drafted amendment what is now Minn. Stat. §§ 571.75, 571.921 to extend garnishment protection to farmer milk sales


As member of the Legal Services Task Force of the Governor’s Commission on Affordable Housing for the 1990s, proposed, co-drafted, and lobbied for:


          Minn. Stat. § 484.013 to create Housing Courts in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties,

          Minn. Stat. §§ 504.33-504.35, governing displacement and replacement of low-income housing by government, and providing a basis for Low-Income Housing Committee v. City of Minneapolis (see Significant Cases, 1992-94, infra); repealed in 1995,

          Minn. Stat. § 504B.381 (formerly § 566.205) to provide for the emergency relief action for tenants,

          Minn. Stat. § 504B.385 (formerly § 566.34) to provide for the rent escrow action,

          Minn. Stat. § 504B.391 (formerly § 566.35) to provide for fines in landlord violations of housing court orders,

          Amendment of Minn. Stat. § 504B.231 (formerly § 504.255) to provide for minimum statutory damages for landlord lockouts, and

          Amendment of Minn. Stat. § 504B.221 (formerly § 504.26) to provide for minimum statutory damages for landlord utility interruptions     


Proposed and drafted amendment to Minn. Stat. § 504B.425 (formerly § 566.25) to provide for attorney fees in tenant remedies, rent escrow, and emergency relief cases, and proposed and co-drafted amendment to Minn. Stat. § 504B.001 (formerly § 566.18) to extend tenant protections to caretakers


As member of the Hennepin County Housing Court Bench and Bar Committee, proposed and co-drafted Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 601-612 governing Housing Court practice and procedure


Proposed and co-drafted amendment to Minn. Stat. § 504.27, now contained in §§ 504B.271 (formerly § 504.24), 504B.225 (formerly § 504.25), 504B.231 (formerly § 504.255), and 504B.221 (formerly § 504.26), to provide protection against property seizures, lockouts, and utility interruptions to mortgagors and contract for deed vendees


Proposed and drafted Fourth District (Hennepin County) Standing Housing Court Order Waiving Housing Court Photocopying Charges to Legal Services and Legal Advice Clinic Attorneys (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. June 8, 1992)


Proposed Fourth District (Hennepin County) Standing Housing Court Order approving acceptance of uncertified checks from Legal Aid and other law firms for payment into court. Order (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. May 15, 1996)


Proposed and co-drafted amendment to 504B.171 (formerly § 504.181) to prohibit landlords from allowing illegal activity, and to 504B.001 (formerly § 566.18) to allow tenants to enforce the statute in tenant remedies and rent escrow actions


As a member of the Conference of Chief Judges Procedures and Forms Committee, Pro Se Housing Court Subcommittee, drafted court forms for pro se landlords and tenants in unlawful detainer (eviction), rent escrow, tenant remedies, and lockout actions


As a member of a committee of landlord-tenant attorneys selected by the Minnesota Legislature, co-drafted of Minn. Stat. Ch. 504B, a recodification of landlord-tenant statutes formerly in Chapters 504 and 566


Drafted proposed amendment to 42 U.S.C. § 1437d(l)(6) to protect innocent public housing tenants from eviction (not enacted)


Lobbied successfully against bills by tenant screening agencies to weaken tenant eviction expungement rights in Minn. Stat. § 484.014


Assisted in the drafting of and testified in support of Minn. Stat. §  504B.206, which created the right of victims of domestic abuse to terminate a residential lease in certain circumstance.


Lead Attorney, Renter Working Group of the Minnesota Legislature Task Force on Mortgage Foreclosures (2007-08), co-wrote a legislative package to increase the rights of tenants whose landlords are in foreclosure. New laws included foreclosure advice notices for tenants, Minn. Stat. § 580.042, disclosure of foreclosure status by landlord to prospective tenants before signing leases, § 504B.151, two month vacate notices to tenants at the end of the redemption period, § 504B.285, expanded rights of tenants to pay on or take over unpaid landlord utility bills and deduct payments from rent, § 504B.285, right to withhold the security deposit in the last month of the redemption period, § 504B.178, and mandatory expungement of foreclosure eviction files where the tenant already has moved or where the bank did not give the required notice to the tenant, § 484.014


Assisted in the drafting of amendments to Minn. Stat. § 504B.285 to extend eviction notice rights to tenants in foreclosure who were excluded from the 2008 amendments


Assisted in the drafting of and testified in support of the Tenants’ Bill of Rights, which regulated late fees, required receipts for rent, implied in leases that provide for tenant payment of landlord attorney fees a reciprocal obligation on landlords to pay tenant attorney fees, further regulated application fees, increased penalties for wrongfully withholding security deposits, conformed state eviction rights for tenants in foreclosure with recent federal legislation, and created a rebuttable presumption of actual rent payment when the tenant produces money order receipts. 2010 Minn. Laws Ch. 315; Minn. Stat. §§ 504B.118, 504B.172, 504B.173, 504B.177, 504B.178, 504B.285, 504B.291.


Successfully lobbied in the Minnesota Legislature against passage of H.F. No. 440, Sections 11 and 12, and S.F. No. 875, Sections 8 and 9, which would have eliminated the rights of landlords an tenants in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties to have judges hear eviction, repair and lockout cases, and to have judges review decisions of referees in these cases


Served as an observer to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Study Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and helped encourage the Study Committee to unanimously agree to recommend to the conference that a drafting committee be formed to comprehensively revise the Act


Served as an observer to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Drafting Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, submitting provisions included in the final Act


Successfully lobbied for amendment to Minn. Stat. § 504B.345 to provide for the first statutory recognition of the continued availability of both common law and statutory expungement of eviction court records, significant that it ensures that the expungement statute does not preempt use of common law expungement when the statute does not apply. The amended statute also allows for expungement as early as the time judgment is entered in the eviction.


Testified before the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch and presented oral argument to the Minnesota Supreme Court, successfully advocating for greater public protections concerning bulk data use by commercial subscribers in Order Promulgating Amendments to the Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch, ADM 10-8050 (Minn. Supreme Court Aug. 1, 2016)


Drafted proposed statute requiring public housing authorities to pay for tenant eviction representation in breach of lease cases, approved by the Minnesota State Bar Association, pending


Co-drafted and testified in support of proposed statutes to expand eviction court record expungement and require written notice before filing an eviction court action, pending


Presented oral argument and written comments to the Minnesota Supreme Court, successfully advocating against allowing non-attorney agents to represent corporations in eviction court actions in Order Promulgating Amendments to the Gen. Rules of Practice for the Dist. Courts, No. ADM 09-8009 (Minn. Supreme Court May 13, 2019)

Selected Litigation


Litigated, co-counseled, and supervised hundreds of trials and motion hearings and scores of appeals since 1983


In re Application of Northwestern Bell Telephone: represented rural telephone customers in first telephone rate setting case following federal deregulation. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) significantly reduced the proposed rate increase. After the MPUC denied an attorney fee request, the Court of Appeals reversed, 374 N.W.2d 758 (Minn. Ct. App. 1985), but the Supreme Court reinstated the denial, 386 N.W.2d 723 (Minn. 1986).


Salvation Army v. Luten, No. UD-1860523522 (Henn. Cty. Mun. Ct., June 12, 1986): first case applying Minn. Stat. § 504B.285 (formerly § 566.03) retaliation protections to police calls


Laurel Village: negotiated settlement with City of Minneapolis to preserve and replace hundreds of units of low-income housing in a downtown development project


Tonkaway Limited Partnerships v. McLain, 433 N.W.2d 443 (Minn. Ct. App. 1988): first decision to hold that a motion for new trial is not required in unlawful detainer (eviction) actions


Goggleye v. Pierce (D. Minn. 1989): federal court class action challenging HUD plan to sell Riverside Plaza, formerly Cedar Square West, the largest subsidized project in Minnesota, with a reduction in subsidized units, leading to settlement for an additional $25,000,000 in housing subsidies


Simmons v. Kemp, 751 F. Supp. 815 (D. Minn. 1990): summary judgment granted to tenant, holding public housing authority improperly bypassed administrative grievance process in eviction, enjoining evictions in violation of the process, and awarding attorney fees


Tyus v. Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, No. UD-1900502523 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. July 11, 1990): first rent abatement award in a public housing rent escrow action


Aguero v. Nordlie, CT990-4474 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Aug. 21, 1992) Amended Order (Sep. 28, 1992): first consumer class action over landlord’s routine practice of withholding security deposits; court award of deposits, interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees


Prepared a report, adopted by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, analyzing proposals to expand Interstate Highway 35W as violating federal civil rights and fair housing laws


Low-Income Housing Committee v. City of Minneapolis, No. 92-22715 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct 25, 1994): represented tenants and housing advocates in challenge to city’s low-income housing displacement and replacement practices under Minn. Stat. §§ 504.33-504.35 (see Legislation and Rules, 1989, supra), leading to settlement providing for an additional 88 units of low-income housing. After the case was filed, the City Council voted to withhold $50,000 in funding for Legal Aid, but the Mayor vetoed the resolution.


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. Holloway, No. C0-95-391 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 15, 1995), Finance and Commerce 46 (Aug. 18, 1995) (unpublished): unsuccessful eviction appeal, affirming rejection of a reasonably foreseeability standard for eviction for actions of non-tenants


Phillips Neighborhood Housing Trust v. Brown, 564 N.W.2d 573 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997): unsuccessful eviction appeal, affirming eviction of entire household when one co-tenant violated the lease by engaging in illegal drug activity.


Smith v. Reese, No. UD-1961203542 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Jan. 3, 1997): supervised clinic student in the first holding that landlord’s disclosure of a box at a private commercial mail collection and distribution center is not an address where plaintiffs could be personally served, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 504.22 (now § 504B.181)


Edwards v. Zulfe Enterprise, No. UD-1970310901 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. June 3, 1997): supervised clinic student in the first decision allowing tenant to deduct the award of attorney fees from rent and pay it to counsel


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. Lor, No. UD-1970716525 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Sep. 10, 1997): trial court concluded that federal legislative history of public housing statutes gave the court discretion to not evict remaining household members who did not have knowledge of excluded household members’ illegal activity. On appeal, affirmed in Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. Lor, 578 N.W.2d 8 (Minn. Ct. App. 1998), but reversed in Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. Lor, 591 N.W.2d 700 (Minn. 1999)


Okoiye v. Washington, No. UD-1981029901 (Minn. Ct. Dist. June 15, 1999): rent abatement increase for failure to complete repairs; Washington v. Okoiye and Okoiye v. Washington, No. UD-1981029901 (Minn. Ct. Dist. Oct. 8, 1999): landlord violated shared meter statute where tenant’s meter covered her first floor apartment and the common basement which the landlord used for an office and for personal use; landlord violated unlawful exclusion statute by excluding tenant from the basement. Total rent abatements over 2 years: $12,000


Walters v. Demmings, No. C4-01-2, 2001 WL 641753 (Minn. Ct. App. June 12, 2001) (unpublished): reversed eviction order and restated the strong retaliation prohibitions in Minn. Stat. § 504B.285 first pronounced in Parkin v. Fitzgerald, 307 Minn. 423, 240 N.W.2d 828 (1976)

On remand, Walters v. Demmings, No. UD-1001004526 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Aug. 14 and Oct. 25, 2001, Jan. 30, 2002): denied eviction, held landlord could not force tenant to pay utility bill on a shared meter which included landlord’s other utility accounts, credited tenant’s payments against rent, and awarded rent abatement, costs, and $4,500 in attorney’s fees and authorized tenant to withhold fees from rent


Tri Star Developers, LLC v. Mattson, No. HC 1011002522 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct. 16, 2001): supervised clinic student in the first decision to hold landlord’s failure to obtain a rental license is a jurisdictional defect in a nonpayment of rent eviction case, requiring dismissal


Smith v. Floy, No. HC 010829900 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Dec. 14, 2001): Landlord held in contempt of court for failing to reimburse tenant as ordered by the court for apartment rented to tenant while condemned, and ordered to jail if landlord continued to violate the court’s orders


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. Valtierra, No. HC 1020710513 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Aug. 2, 2002): first Minnesota decision holding that a public housing authority cannot bypass its administrative grievance process for criminal activity in an eviction involving possession of a small amount of marijuana, which is not a crime


Senogles v. Tran, No. HC 03022020901 (Minn. Dist Ct. 4th Dist. May 22, 2003): emergency relief action; habitability rent abatement award of $4,500, with $2,000 disbursed from court and judgment for $2,500


Dominium Management Services, Inc. v. C.L., No. A03-85, 2003 WL 22890386 (Minn. Ct. App. Dec. 9, 2003): supervised work responding to landlord’s appeal of eviction decision; Court affirmed rulings that eviction notice was retaliatory, that defendant was disabled, and that the landlord failed to reasonably accommodate the tenant’s disability under federal law


Harris v. _____, No. HC 031022502 (Minn. Dist Ct. 4th Dist. Dec. 15, 2003, Jan. 9, and Feb. 6, Mar. 3, Mar. 17, 2004): landlord imprisoned for contempt in violating eviction settlement


Erin Realty v. _____, No. HC 030918514 (Minn. Dist Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 16, 2004): supervised clinic student in first decision that a landlord may not obtain a writ of recovery for failure to pay future rents not alleged as due in the complaint, as it would constitute a waiver of the tenant’s right to the protections of the eviction process in Minn. Stat. Ch. 504B and the right to raise defenses to the landlord’s claim as to nonpayment of future rents


St. Louis Park Place, L.L.C. v. _____, No. HC 1031015540 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Nov. 12, 2004); Brooklyn Park Housing Associates, L.L.P. v. _____, No. HC 040218503 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct. 14, 2004): supervised clinic students in a series of decisions expanding the court’s common law inherent power expunge court files under State v. C.A., 304 N.W.2d 353 (Minn. 1981); State v. Schultz, 676 N.W.2d 337 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004), State v. T.M.B., 590 N.W.2d 809 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999)


Pollard v. Southdale Gardens of Edina Condominium Ass’n., Inc., 698 N.W.2d 449 (Minn. Ct. App. 2005): co-counsel in successful appeal holding that held that mere existence of nonwaiver clause in bylaws did not preclude residents from asserting claims that association and board were equitably estopped from enforcing rule, and did not preclude residents’ claim that association and board violated duty to treat all residents equally; and that resident had standing to bring action even though resident did not own unit in which he resided


A series of decisions on judicial review of a new Housing Court referee’s decisions:

Meldahl v. McIntosh, No. 1050923509 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Feb. 23, 2006): co-counsel in successful judge review of a new housing court referee’s decision, resulting in dismissal of an eviction action for commencement in the name of the landlord’s agent, improper service by the plaintiff’s agent, failure to service the Section 8 office, improper representation of a corporation by a non-attorney, failure to comply with housing court rules, waiver of breach by acceptance rent, and application of the covenants of habitability


Peters v. Tillmon, No. 060306506 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Apr. 10, 2006): co-counsel in judge review reversal of referee decision ordering tenant to pay rent into court in Section 8 voucher eviction case where landlord failed to notify the Section 8 office as required by regulation


Humphrey v. Knox, No. HC 031015540 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Apr. 26, 2006): co-counsel in judge review reversal of referee decision to evict tenant after tenant had successfully litigated habitability defense


Himraj v. Mayfield, No. 1060117546 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Apr. 27, 2006): co-counsel in judge review reversal of referee decision requiring tenant in eviction action to pay the full rent and costs to redeem the tenancy where the tenant proved a violation of the statutory covenants of habitability


Ali v. Brown, No. HC 600223537 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. May 16, 2006): judge review reversal of referee decision denying statutorily required costs to prevailing tenant in eviction action


Stewart v. Anderson, No. A06-1878, 2007 WL 2366528 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 21, 2007): supervised work responding to landlord’s appeal of eviction decision; Court affirmed rulings by district court judge that housing court referee erred in receiving the landlord’s late exhibits but refusing to receive the tenant’s late exhibits, and requiring expert testimony for tenant’s lay testimony regarding her observations of sounds of rodents, foul smells, and grease stains on personal property removed from the dryer


Sakala v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-08-6156 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Sep. 9, 2008): successful judge review of referee order for eviction, where the referee made no finding or conclusion on whether the landlord complied with the Minn. Stat. § 504B.181 disclosure requirements, the referee allowed the landlord to reply entirely on hearsay, the referee raised claims not raised by the landlord and stepped into the role of representing a landlord who already had counsel against a pro se tenant. The reviewing judge reversed the referee and dismissed the eviction action for landlord’s failure to post address information until two weeks after filing the eviction action


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-08-10954 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Sep. 21, 2009): successful eviction defense of a public housing tenant for possession of a small amount of marijuana a mile away from the property, with no allegations that the tenant had ever done anything wrong on the property. The lease provision created by federal statute allows for eviction for drug-related criminal activity on or off of the property, with no geographic limitation. A small amount of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor offense, and not a crime under state law. The court granted judgment for the tenant, concluding on reconsideration that Congress did not intend the definition of drug-related criminal activity to cover non-criminal illegal activity, and that the legislative history supported consideration of the circumstances


Kutscheid v. Emerald Square Prop., Inc., 770 N.W.2d 529 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009): supervised work on tenant’s rent escrow action over violations of utility shared meter billing regulations in Minn. Stat. § 504B.215, successful appeal of housing court referee’s denial of remedies, and successful remand for damages


Public Housing Agency of the City of Saint Paul v. Edwards, No. A09-2085, 2010 WL 3544770 (Minn. Ct. App. Sep. 14, 2010): consulted on work responding to landlord’s appeal of eviction decision; Court affirmed rulings by housing court referee in finding that the landlord failed to prove a breach of lease


Bryant Manor Apartments, LLP, v. ______, No. 27-CV-HC-08-8492 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Nov. 18, 2010): supervised clinic student in reversal of a referee eviction expungement denial, where the referee took testimony from the landlord but not the tenant and then did not properly apply the common law inherent authority standard


Trim v. Inmotion Property Management and Conoryea, No. 62-HG-CV-11-877 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 2nd Dist. May 10, 2011): supervised student in trial in a rent escrow action based on a ceiling collapse from an unattended roof ice jam and exposed nails and inadequate basement air temperature and hot water temperature, after which the referee signed our 9 page proposed order with slight modifications, ordering completion of repairs and awarding $1500 in rent abatement, costs and disbursements


Isackson v. _____, No. 62HGCV11-819 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 2nd Dist. April 15, 2011): supervised student in an eviction action for nonpayment of rent, in which we answered with defenses including excessive late fees, waiver of obligation to promptly pay rent due to repeated acceptance of irregular payments, and violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by the attorney requesting $75 in attorney fees while the state eviction statute provides for attorney fees not exceeding $5.00, and we settled for installment payments, dismissal of the landlord’s parallel conciliation court action, mutual rescission of the lease in two months, and no payment of the landlord’s filing, service and late fees, with the tenant preserving the $2000 FDCPA claim against the attorney for two violations of the Act


Spann v. Pauluk, 27-CV-HC-11-1462 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 30, 2011): supervised clinic student in a rent escrow action case, resulting in an order completely abating the $850 rent for March 2011 and until further order of the court, due to multiple repair problems and the landlord’s failure to appear in court


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-12-221, Order (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 21, 2012): judged reversed referee eviction ruling concluding that referee denied the tenant a fair trial


PPL Louisiana Court LP v. Glover, No. 27-CV-HC-12-787, Order on Request for Emergency Judge Review (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 12, 2012): referee order conditioned stay of eviction during judge review on defendant paying rent full rent rather than tenant’s subsidized rent; judge reversed referee order and stayed eviction on condition tenant pay subsidized rent into court


Minneapolis Public Housing Authority v. ______, No. 27-CV-HC-12-221, Decision and Order (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Feb. 10, 2012): referee order conditioned stay of eviction during judge review on defendant paying plaintiff’s costs and disbursement; judge reversed referee order and stayed eviction on condition tenant pay only rent into court


Trilogy Properties of MN LLC v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-11-7635 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Dec. 16, 2011): first decision to hold that Minn. Stat. § 504B.181 (formerly 504.22) requires disclosure to tenants of the identity of the principal of the property


Broom v. Hennepin Heathcare System, Inc, Turning Point, Inc., No. 27-CV-HC-12-7415 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Jan. 22, 2013): reversed and remanded referee decision denying petition for lockout remedies without taking testimony

Odash v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-12-3214 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 26, 2013): reversal of referee’s refusal to hold mandatory hearing motion for return of personal property under Minn. Stat. §§ 504B.271 and 504B.365


HNA Properties v. Moore, 848 N.W.2d 238 (Minn. Ct. App. 2014): co-counseled representation of tenant at the district court, and supervised and later consulted on the appeal, resulting in reversal of the district court, and holding that under Minn. Stat. § 549.02, subd. 1, a district court must allow the defendant in costs upon dismissal of the case.


Equity Residential Holdings, LLC v. Koenig, No. 27-CV-HC-13-3359 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct. 11 and Nov. 21, 2013, and Sep. 23 and Dec. 18, 2014): co-counsel successful defense of tenant in eviction action, and supervised the appeal on attorney’s fees under Minn. Stat. § 504B.172 in Equity Residential Holdings, LLC v. Koenig, No. A15-0001, 2015 WL 5312074 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 14, 2015) (unpublished)


Skylark Opera v. Department of Employment and Economic Development, No. A13- 2343, 2014 WL 4672360 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 22, 2014) (unpublished): supervised successful appeal, reversing department decision and holding that persons hired by a nonprofit, professional opera company were independent contractors so that wages paid to these persons were not taxable under the unemployment-insurance laws


Equity Residential Holdings, LLC, Appellant, v. Koenig, A14-0162 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2014): successfully represented tenant in dismissal of landlord’s premature appeal of district court order awarding attorney’s fees under Minn. Stat. § 504B.172


Bell-Ramsey v. Meldahl, No. 27-CV-HC-14-3813 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct. 23, 2014): successfully represented tenant in rent escrow action, with the referee and judge on appeal awarding rent abatement for six months due uncorrected plumbing and electrical problems, costs, attorney’s fees, and consequential damages for food and services; and Meldahl v. Williams, 27-CV-HC-14-2983 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Oct. 23, 2014): successfully represented tenant in companion eviction action, with the referee and judge on appeal concluded there was no material violations of the lease where landlord’s lease requiring advance notice of housing inspection violated Minn. Stat. § 504B.161


The Freund Haus LLC v. ____, 27-CV-HC-13-6609 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. July 22, 2014): successfully represented tenant in motion to expunge eviction with judge on appeal reversing referee decision and concluding that eviction action was moot where filed eviction after tenant departed, and holding for the first time that landlord must strictly follow the exact sequence of steps in mailing and posting service under Minn. Stat. § 504B.331


Cocchiarella v. Driggs, No. A-14-1876 (Minn. Aug. 21, 2016): supervised representation of amicus HOME Line in successful appeal of dismissal of lockout action under Minn. Stat. § 504B.375, with the Court holding that the requirement that a “residential tenant” be “a person who is occupying a dwelling” included a person with a present legal right to occupy the dwelling


Afro Deli & Coffee LLC v. African Development Center, No. 27-CV-16-9808 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Aug. 25, 2016): successfully represented commercial landlord in denial of motion for preliminary injunction against eviction action


Barnes v. Alan Spaulding, Mike Cashill, At Home Apartments, Gateway Real Estate LLC, Cashill Spaulding Properties, and West River Commons, No. 27-CV-HC-17-6053 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Dec. 22, 2017): supervised emergency tenant remedies action, multiple people and entities were landlords under Minn. Stat. § 504B.001, the landlords shall immediately repair the subject property to be fully compliant with the Minneapolis Codes of Ordinances and federal subsidized housing requirements, and the landlords shall immediately prepay the tenant to cover the costs of staying with her son at a hotel of her choosing in a room with kitchenette so that the tenant can avoid the costs of purchasing pre-made food


Tran v. _____, No. 27-CV-HC-18-871 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Mar. 27, 2018): supervised eviction defense, landlord illegally required tenants to paid for shared utilities, landlord illegally required tenants to perform maintenance without compensation, landlord violated lease by charging tenants for portions of home rented to others, tenants awarded rent abatement, reimbursement of shared utility bills paid, and compensation for maintenance performed, landlord shall pay outstanding utility bills


Wajda v. Schmeichel, No. A18-0060 (Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 26, 2018) (unpublished): supervised amicus in successful tenant eviction appeal, eviction for breach of lease is improper because the lease is void on public-policy grounds, eviction for holdover after notice to quit is improper because respondent did not give proper written notice to appellant terminating the tenancy at will, eviction for unlawful occupancy under Minn. Stat. § 504B.301 is improper because respondent was not unlawfully occupying the property as she maintained a tenancy at will at the time of eviction, district court judgment reversed


Ellis v. Doe, 915 N.W.2d 24 (Minn. Ct. App. 2018): supervised amicus in successful tenant defense of the landlord’s eviction appeal, holding that tenants are not required to give written notice of habitability violations to asset a habitability defense to an eviction action for nonpayment


Cent. Hous. Assocs., LP v. Olson, 910 N.W.2d 485 (Minn. 2019): supervised amicus in successful tenant eviction appeal, reversing Court of Appeal’s holding that a landlord retaliation defense in an eviction for breach of lease is available only where the retaliation is in response to a tenant filing a Tenant Remedies Action complaint in court. The Court interpreted the statute more broadly than the Court of Appeals, but more importantly, created a broad common law retaliation defense to evictions claiming breach of lease.


Fletcher Props. v. City of Minneapolis, ____ N.W.2d _____, 2020 Minn. LEXIS 360 (Minn. 2020), supervised amicus in successful defense of a Minneapolis ordinance prohibiting landlord discrimination against Section 8 Voucher Program tenants. The Court rejected landlord claims that the ordinance violated the Minnesota Constitution’s guarantee of substantive due process and equal protection.

Programs and Projects


Authored and update materials available at Housing Law in Minnesota at including Residential Eviction Defense in Minnesota, Security Deposits in Minnesota, pleadings, motions, and slide shows - see Publications


Created and supervised a number of programs and clinics to provide advice and representation to tenants facing court evictions in Hennepin County, including an advice clinic at the housing court with partial staff funding and office space from the country, in partnership with Volunteer Lawyers Network, a pro bono volunteer attorney program, to provide one legal aid attorney and at first one and now two volunteer attorneys for each housing court arraignment. The eviction summons includes some tenant information, with notice of the advice clinic. The program now is supervised by the managing attorney of the housing unit of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the housing resources manager at VLN.


Wrote and supervised the creation and updating of housing fact sheets at


Created and taught housing clinics and poverty law courses at Twin Cities law schools - see Law School Teaching


Created, secured funding for and supervised the Tenants in Foreclosure Project at Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, providing representation and advice to tenant facing housing repair problems and evictions with landlords in the foreclosure process


Created, secured funding for and supervised the Veterans Legal Advocate position at Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance to increase veterans' access to free legal representation around civil matters focused on securing and maintaining stable housing, as well as other civil legal matters.


Supervised pro bono clinics at Dorsey and Whitney

          Housing Court Clinic Project: Dorsey and US Bank attorneys partnered to provide staffing for the Hennepin County Housing Court Clinic on the 3rd and 4th Wednesdays of each month from at the Hennepin County Government Center Housing Court

          Brian Coyle Clinic: The Brian Coyle Community Center Legal Clinic was staffed by Dorsey attorneys partnering with US Bank attorneys, seeing clients with a variety of issues such as consumer problems, debtor's rights, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant, employment and unemployment compensation and other civil issues.

          Legal Access Point Clinic: The clinic was staffed by a Dorsey attorney at the Self-Help Center in the Hennepin County Government Center. Dorsey attorneys assist pro se litigants by offering guidance and referral information to help them in resolving their own legal issues. Individuals primarily seek assistance with credit problems, medical malpractice, housing, bankruptcy, employment, insurance claims and conciliation court.

          Expungement Clinic: Dorsey lawyers partnered with Xcel Energy In House Counsel, working through Volunteer Lawyers Network provide assistance to individuals seeking expungement of their criminal record.

          Consumer Debt/Collection Clinic: Dorsey attorneys volunteered at a clinic for people being sued for consumer debt in Hennepin County Conciliation Court.

Organizations, Committees, Associations, and Volunteering


Current Service with Law Organizations

          Minnesota Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee

          Minnesota State Bar Association Access to Justice Committee (formerly Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee) and various subcommittees

          Minnesota State Bar Association Amicus Society, Board Member

          Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office and the Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Joint Grant Review Committee for Community Dispute Resolution, Member

          Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Trainer

          Minnesota Legal Services Coalition Housing Task Force, Member and Trainer

          Housing Justice Network of the National Housing Law Project, Member

          Hennepin County Housing Court Bench and Bar Committee, Current and Founding Member

          Home Line, Volunteer and Trainer

          Volunteer Lawyers Network, Current Housing Committee, Current Member and Trainer, and Past Member of Board of Directors and Housing Committee Co-Chair

          Law Enforcement Training Services, Trainer

Past Service with Law Organizations

          Minnesota Judicial Branch Triage Portal Advisory Committee

          Minnesota Supreme Court Legal Services Advisory Committee, Board Member

          National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Drafting Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Observer

          National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Study Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Observer

          National Lawyers Guild, Minnesota Chapter, Past Steering Committee Member

          Minnesota State Bar Association Civil Gideon Task Force, Member

          Minnesota State Bar Association Real Estate Committee, Member

          Minnesota Women Lawyers, Volunteer

          Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Volunteer

          Hennepin County Bar Association Landlord-Tenant Committee, Past Chair

          Ramsey County Bar Association Real Estate Section, Member

          St. Paul Area Coalition for the Homeless, Member

          Children’s Law Center, Volunteer

          Project Homeless Connect, Volunteer

Volunteer Activities

          Access Press, Volunteer

          Alliance of the Streets, Volunteer

          Arc of Minnesota, Volunteer

          Highland Friendship Club, Volunteer and Former Board Member

          KBEM Radio and KFAI Radio, Volunteer

          Masonic Home Care Center, Volunteer

          Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Volunteer

          Minnesota Distance Runners Association, Volunteer

          North Central Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, Volunteer

          Northern Elite Adaptive Cheer, Volunteer

          Ronald McDonald House, Volunteer

          Special Olympics Minnesota, Volunteer

          Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels, Volunteer

          Wellstone Action, Volunteer