Plaintiff former Burnet Realty real estate agent Timothy Allen, through counsel, Robert W. Biederman (formerly in Dallas, Texas with Hubbard & Beiderman, LLP but recently moved to the San Francisco firm of Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith LLP) (and locally through the Briol & Assocs. PLLC), sought Minnesota Supreme Court review of the Court of Appeals’ rejection of his claim against Burnet Realty (and the district court’s rejection of his claims before that).
Beiderman argued the case before the Supreme Court on January 31; Wendy Wildung, of Faegre & Benson, argued on behalf of Burnet.
The Court of Appeals had affirmed the summary judgment decision of the Hennepin County District Court (by now retired Judge Stephen C. Aldrich), which had relied on an opinion of the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and held that Burnet was not engaged in the unauthorized business of selling insurance. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held that Burnet was properly awarded summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims premised on supposed unauthorized sale of insurance, consumer fraud, and unjust enrichment. (Here is a summary of the case’s issues on appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.)
One might have thought that the Minnesota Supreme Court’s having taken the discretionary appeal from the intermediate appellate court boded well for plaintiff/appellants but, at argument on January 31, it looked as if plaintiff and his proposed class of real estate agents who were compelled (more or less) to buy insurance (more or less) from Burnet in connection with their work for Burnet (more or less) face a stiff head-wind in their efforts to reverse the case’s history of decisions that seem to have been unanimously adverse to them.