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CAI-MN Law Seminar 2016
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When: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
11:15 am - 4:30 pm
Where: Embassy Suites Minneapolis Airport
7901 34th Ave S
Bloomington, Minnesota  55425
United States

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– $45 for members
– $55 for nonmembers

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11:15 am Registration
11:45 am – 12:45 pm


Assessments: The Life Blood of an Association
Tom Carlson, Carlson & Associates | bio
Nigel Mendez, Carlson & Associates | bio

This course will cover the “life span” of assessments. It will detail how annual, special and limited assessments are levied and collected. Issues covered will include: caps that may restrict the amount of an assessment/increase, how and in what amount is properly assessed to each unit, member approval requirements, pitfalls relating to bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosures, late fees and interest on unpaid assessments, collection of unpaid assessments though judgment and foreclosure. All topics will be discussed from the perspective of both MCIOA and non-MCIOA associations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to properly interpret a declaration to determine if members should be assessed equally or a percentage;
  2. The differences between annual, special and limited assessments;
  3. How to properly enact each type of assessments in accordance with the governing documents and Minnesota law;
  4. Best practices regarding special assessments to avoid losing out to bankruptcies and foreclosures;
  5. Appropriate late fees/interest and options and procedures to collect unpaid assessments.
12:45 pm Networking Break
1:00 – 2:00 pm

Top Ten Things Every Property Manager Should Know About Insurance
Robert Keena, Hellmuth & Johnson | bio

This seminar discusses the most important tips for property managers and association board members regarding the insurance claim process. Some of the areas to be highlighted will include considerations for selecting the best insurance, what type of insurance may be needed, how to properly preserve evidence when you are reporting an insurance claim, and which deadlines are vital in the claims process.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Get an overview of the claims process.
  2. Learn about what property managers should look for and expect in an insurance agent.
  3. Gain a better understanding of how to preserve evidence and handle a claim.
  4. Increase knowledge of bad faith claims.
2:00 pm Networking Break
2:15 – 3:15 pm Breakout Sessions Round 1

Track 1
Insurance Coverage for Construction Defect Claims

Alex Nelson, Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson | bio
Ross Hussey, Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson | bio

When homeowners associations face construction defects and pursue their communities’ developers and contractors for needed repairs, typically an insurance company defends against the claims, and ultimately pays to resolve the dispute. Luckily, Minnesota law requires that all licensed contractors have liability insurance for exactly these kinds of claims. How best can construction defect plaintiffs (such as HOAs) trigger and protect the insurance coverage of their developers and contractors? What are the potential coverage gaps? This presentation gives a community manager an overview of insurance coverage issues as they relate to construction defect claims.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand when a potentially-covered construction defect claim has arisen at an HOA.
  2. Understand when to seek legal advice about an insurance coverage issue.
  3. Understand that a bankrupt or out-of-business builder does not mean that a construction defect claim can’t be pursued.
  4. Understand how to read an insurance certificate and understand its core terms, as well as what information is not reflected on the certificate.

Track 2
How to Deal with the Upset, Angry & Potentially Dangerous Owner
David McGee, Chestnut Cambronne | bio

The most difficult, frustrating and potentially scary situations for many Association board members is dealing with owners. How do you best handle an angry owner? What efforts can you undertake now to help strengthen the Association’s position later? In the event communicating directly with the owner is impossible, what civil or criminal options are available to address a hostile owner? These and other topics will be covered in this seminar.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to create rules that are sufficient to address homeowner issues?
  2. How the drafting and enforcement of governing documents assist in addressing homeowner issues?
  3. How does a Board interact with a troublesome or potentially violent owner?
  4. What civil and criminal options are available to address troublesome or potentially violent owners?
3:15 pm Networking Break
3:30 – 4:30 pm Breakout Sessions Round 2

Track 1
Legal Considerations in Homeowner Association Lending

Finn Jacobsen, Roeder Smith Jadin PLLC | bio

This course is designed to provide property managers and homeowners with an overview of the practical considerations and legal issues community association face when taking out a commercial loan. The course will cover: (1) circumstances under which it is appropriate for a community association to take out a loan; (2) a community association’s authority to take out a loan the sources of that authority, and checks, balances and limits on that authority; (3) common underwriting requirements; and (4) repayment considerations.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognizing the circumstances in which a community association may want to consider entering into a commercial loan;
  2. Recognizing the sources of a community association’s authority to enter into a commercial loan (e.g., the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporations Act, the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act, and governing documents) and potential impediments to that authority (e.g., homeowner consent requirements, governing document restrictions on contract length, ability to repay the loan, collateral issues)
  3. Understanding the loan process – from the initial proposal to closing
  4. Repayment considerations

Track 2a — 3:30 – 4:00 pm
Hot Topics In Fair Housing Laws Applied To Community Associations
Brian Christiansen, Hellmuth & Johnson | bio
David Hellmuth, Hellmuth & Johnson | bio

This seminar provides an overview of the Fair Housing laws and how they apply to community associations. It will discuss service/therapy animals and familial status discrimination. This presentation will include several actual case stories relating to fair housing law.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the Fair Housing laws as they are defined in the Federal Fair Housing Act
  2. Go into detail on discriminatory acts that are prohibited and protected classes
  3. Gain a greater understanding of reasonable accommodations and examples that may apply to their situation including parking policies, noise regulations, pet restrictions, and smoking rules.

Track 2b — 4:00 – 4:30 pm
Resale Disclosure Certificates
Brenda Sauro, Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC | bio

This course will acquaint the real estate professional with their obligations when completing a Resale Disclosure Certificate on behalf of a Common Interest Community. The course will discuss the perils in failing to understand and properly disclose under Minnesota law including the possibility of assessment forgiveness, legal fees, costs and punitive damages being awarded to a purchaser who failed to receive proper disclosure. Relevant case law and statutes will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. The Resale disclosure requirements of a Board and management company when a unit is sold in a Common Interest Community.
  2. The statutory form for disclosure;
  3. The penalties for non-compliance; and
  4. The court cases for violations under the Minnesota Common Ownership and Community Act.
4:30 pm Adjourn

Speaker Bios

Thomas Carlson

Thomas Carlson, Carlson & Associates

Tom Carlson is the founding shareholder of Carlson & Associates, Ltd. Tom’s practice areas include community association law, municipal law, insurance defense, subrogation, employment law and general litigation. Tom’s clients include condominium, townhouse and cooperative associations, property management companies, municipalities, insurance carriers, contractors, small businesses and individuals.

Practicing extensively in the area of community association law, Tom has represented hundreds of condominium and townhouse associations throughout Minnesota in all matters, including collection of assessments, lien foreclosures, construction defects, document enforcement and revisions. He has authored several articles and regularly presents seminars regarding community association law topics.

Tom has represented clients in a wide variety of litigation matters, as well as appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is licensed to practice in all Minnesota State and Federal Courts, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He has been named a Minnesota Super Lawyer™.

Nigel Mendez

Nigel Mendez, Carlson & Associates

Nigel Mendez is an attorney with Carlson & Associates, Ltd., a law firm located in Vadnais Heights, MN. He is a Minnesota State Bar Association Certified Real Property Law Specialist. His practice areas include community association law, municipal law, insurance defense, subrogation and civil litigation. He is licensed to practice in all Minnesota State and Federal Courts, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Court. Nigel has been representing community association clients for more than ten years and the firm presently represents more than six hundred associations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area and greater Minnesota.

Nigel is the Chair of the CAI-MN Education Committee, a member of the CAI-MN Communications Committee and writes the “Ask the Attorney” article in the Minnesota Community Living magazine. Nigel has been named a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers each year since 2013.

He frequently speaks to property managers and boards on issues facing community associations.

Robert Keena

Robert Keena, Hellmuth & Johnson

J. Robert Keena is a partner with Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC and chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice, where he assists individuals and businesses in Minnesota and North Dakota with a variety of litigation issues, including:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Construction law
  • Real estate law
  • First party insurance claims and coverage
  • Probate litigation
  • Mortgage litigation

Robert provides thoughtful counsel and proactive representation to his clients, and aggressively defends their interests in all litigation matters. Robert has extensive commercial litigation experiences in matters. Robert has extensive commercial litigation experience in matters involving real estate and construction disputes, shareholder disputes, probate disputes, insurance claims, and large-scale tort actions. His construction practice involves the representation of a significant number of builders faced with contract issues, as well as property owners faced with construction defect claims.

For eight consecutive years (2008-2015) Robert has bee chosen for inclusion in the Minnesota Super Lawyers list; only 5% of attorneys in Minnesota are selected each year. He was also names to the Rising Star list for multiple years running. Robert is a frequent speaker and author on a multitude of legal issues including Construction Law and Litigation matters. He has been quoted in Midwest Home magazine, the Star Tribune, and The Builder’s Journal, among others, and has appeared on KSTP-TV, WCCO-TV and KMSP FOX TV.

Robert is licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota, Federal District Court of Minnesota, the State of North Dakota, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Hennepin County Bar Association.

Robert obtained his J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, and graduated with the school’s criminal law award for academic excellence. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota, with a B.A. in History.

Alex Nelson

Alex Nelson, Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson

Partner Alex Nelson originally joined the firm in 2008. Alex has more than 12 years of experience in construction defect litigation.  Prior to joining the firm, Alex practiced at a boutique law firm that served the construction industry, working for both general contractors and real estate developers.   

Alex’s experience spans a wide range of both litigated and non-litigated matters, in the areas of construction defects, real estate, insurance, and other commercial disputes. Alex has experience with all aspects of litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, jury trials and arbitrations. Alex is also experienced in post-trial and appellate work. He has written, spoken, and consulted on construction defect and liability insurance related issues. Alex heads the firm’s Minnesota office.

When not at work, Alex enjoys time with his wife Jen and their three children, cycling, telemark and skate skiing, and traveling.

Ross Hussey

Ross Hussey, Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C.

Ross Hussey is an attorney with Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson, P.C., where his practice is focused on construction defect and insurance coverage litigation. Ross has over 10 years of legal experience. Prior to joining BKSN, Ross was a founder and General Counsel for Minnesota Medical Solutions and had been a founding partner at a boutique litigation firm in Minneapolis where he focused on commercial and insurance litigation.

Ross has extensive experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal court. He has represented clients through all aspects of litigation including alternative dispute resolution, arbitration and trial. He has litigated a broad range of issues such as property insurance disputes, civil rights, product liability, breach of warranty, breach of contracts, and other business disputes.

David McGee

David McGee, Chestnut Cambronne PA

A partner at Chestnut Cambronne, Dave has over 25 years of litigation experience representing professionals, employers, boards (profit and non-profit), realtors (real estate agents, brokers, and brokerages), appraisers, title companies, engineers, design professionals, community associations, business, and individuals in the areas of Professional Liability, General Civil Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, as well as Real Estate Law, and Townhome and Condominium Law. Dave has repeatedly been named a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law & Politics and Mpls/St. Paul Magazine. Dave has represented clients in numerous published appellate cases.

Dave has represented clients in a variety of forums including arbitrations, mediations, court actions, trials, administrative proceedings, and appeals. Dave also represents professionals before licensing and regulatory boards. Dave is a sought-after, frequent lecturer at a variety of forums, including the Minnesota Real Estate Institute, the premier continuing education course for Minnesota Real Estate Attorneys, and has written numerous articles in the area of Professional Liability, Construction Defect, Community Association, Real Estate, and Workplace Issues. He is also a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice (mediation and arbitration).

Finn Jacobsen

Finn Jacobsen, Roeder Smith Jadin PLLC

Finn has successfully advocated for his clients in all areas involving community associations, including the retrieval of assessments through collections and foreclosures; enforcement of association rules and governing documents; mediation, arbitration and litigation; interpretation and amendment of governing documents; and many others. Finn’s successful results in his practice allows him to approach his clients’ problems with a keen understanding and familiarity of the issues related to community associations.

Finn plays an essential role in providing legal counseling to associations. Whether a community is self-managed or employs a professional property management company, Finn prides himself in his commitment to prompt, personal service. He has provided legal counsel to associations relating to municipal law, state law, federal law, and administrative hearing.

Finn is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar, and the Hennepin County Bar Association. Finn is admitted to practice in Minnesota State Court and the United States District Court of Minnesota.

Finn obtained his Juris Doctorate from The University of Minnesota Law School in 2013. While in Law School Finn clerked for the Minnesota Court Appeals, participated in the Maynard Pirsig Moot Court, and represented several clients as a student attorney in the Law School’s Civil Practice Clinic. Prior to Law School, Finn received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The American University in Washington D.C.

Brian Christiansen

Brian Christiansen, Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC

“One of the real satisfactions of my profession comes from helping businesses and individuals who are in difficult situations navigate the complexities of the legal system to accomplish the best possible result.”

Brian practices in several areas including employment law, small business law, commercial and real estate litigation, probate and trust law, and estate planning.

Brian represents a variety of businesses and individuals in connection with employment disputes – including discrimination, whistleblower, and wage claims, non-compete agreements, and other contracts – as well as counseling employers on policies and practices to avoid common pitfalls. In addition, Brian has experience litigating diverse cases ranging from real estate lien priority, to claims against trusts and estates, to defamation and other misconduct. Not simply a litigator, Brian also prepares estate plans and other fundamental contracts.

Brian graduated summa cum laude from Hamline University School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the Hamline Law Review, and clerked at Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A. He also has a strong business background as a graduate of the University of St. Thomas Business Entrepreneurship program, where his team received first place in the capstone business plan competition.

Brian also practices “small business” law. He represents startups and small companies with a variety of legal matters, including entity formation, drafting foundational agreements, and negotiating contracts. Brian has presented at several Continuing Legal Education and other courses on the Minnesota Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, and helps clients bring their businesses into compliance with the new LLC law.

“One critical aspect common to all my practices areas is the importance of being a trusted counselor for my clients,” says Brian. “Whether I’m working on a transaction for a small business or litigating a trust dispute, my clients count on me for sound judgment, complete honesty, and dedication that shows them loud and clear that I’m as invested in achieving a favorable outcome as they are.”

David Hellmuth

David Hellmuth, Hellmuth & Johnson

“I like developing strategies that yield a decisive advantage. Lots of lawyers can execute a transaction; I want to add value to it. My legal representation is strategic and calculated to provide the most practical and cost effective solution for the client.”

As a founding partner of Hellmuth & Johnson, David has been adding value for clients since the firm’s inception, representing individuals and businesses in civil litigation, creditor’s remedies, banking and financial institutions law, real estate, and community association law.

“Whether it’s a commercial transaction or litigation, the pleasure of my job comes from using my skills not just to achieve the desired results, but to go beyond them,” says David. His record of success has earned him the trust of clients throughout the business community, including small, medium and large businesses of all kinds. It has also made him a sought-after speaker and lecturer on topics in his practice areas, and won him recognition outside the legal realm. David works with a diverse group of businesses, primarily assisting in the real estate, corporate, collection/creditor remedies, banking and finance arena. David also represents a large number of condominium and townhouse associations.

David graduated from the University of Minnesota (B.S., Carlson School of Management) and the William Mitchell College of Law (Juris Doctor, Cum Laude). During college, David served as the President of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. During law school, David studied comparative European Community Law at Regents College in London, England.

Brenda Sauro

Brenda Sauro, Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC

Brenda M. Sauro is one of the founding partners of Sauro & Bergstrom, PLLC. Ms. Sauro handles complex civil litigation matters including claims brought under the Minnesota Common Ownership and Community Act. Ms. Sauro routinely advises clients as to their disclosure obligations and assists purchasers who were not fully informed in seeking redress for the non-disclosed defects. Ms. Sauro has represented both sellers and buyers in arbitrations and court cases concerning disclosure issues. On the purchaser side, Ms. Sauro has won rescission awards and monetary awards in excess of $200,000 for undisclosed issues. Ms. Sauro also practices in the areas of construction defect and property insurance disputes. In the course of her career, Ms. Sauro has been involved in numerous jury trials both locally and nationally and has tried many cases to successful verdict. An experienced litigator, trained mediator and published author, Ms. Sauro practices in state and federal courts representing associations, management companies, individuals, contractors, subcontractors and property owners involved in commercial and residential claims for defects, insurance coverage and non-disclosure.

Ms. Sauro graduated cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law and is licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado including the US District Court for the District of Minnesota and the District of Colorado.

Professional Credentials & Real Estate Credits:

Professional Credentials:
All CAI-MN events qualify toward earning and maintaining your professional credentials (CMCA, AMS, PCAM, etc.).

Real Estate Credits:
CAI-MN submits application for Real Estate Credits with the state of Minnesota for each educational program.

PCI Compliance: Per standard by the Payment Card Industry, CAI-MN has met the requirements of the Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS). Credit card information will not be accepted via email.

Cancellation Policy: With written cancellation notice, received one week prior to the event, you will receive a refund, less a $10 processing fee. Cancellations the week of the event are non-refundable. Notice of cancellation must be faxed to the CAI-MN office. No-shows will not receive a refund.

Please note: Your completion of registration indicates your permission to be recorded.

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