October 16, 2018. George and Melissa attended a program and dinner with Chief Justice John Roberts as the guest of honor. During the 75-minute program at the University of Minnesota, the Chief Justice spoke on a wide range of topics with University of Minnesota Law School Professor Robert A. Stein. The event drew a near capacity crowd of 3,000 students, lawyers, and community members. After the program, George and Melissa were invited to dinner with the Chief Justice. George and the Chief Justice were friends and classmates at Harvard Law School. You can watch Chief Justice Roberts’ program here: https://www.law.umn.edu/news/2018-10-22-video-available-2018-stein-lecture-featuring-chief-justice-john-roberts.
September 2018. Melissa has started her term as Chair of the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The MSBA Civil Litigation Section serves its members and the legal community by advancing standards of practice in civil cases, fostering connections among lawyers and the courts, offering learning opportunities, and providing a network of experienced and diverse lawyers that promotes collegiality in the profession.
The Section has 1,375 members. Soule & Stull is the home of three Civil Litigation Chairs, as George chaired the Council in 1994-1995 and Kevin in 2011-2012.
October 4, 2018. George and Melissa helped their client win a defense verdict in Nielsen v. Vermeer Manufacturing Company in Suffolk County, New York, in early October. Plaintiff claimed that Vermeer’s BC1800XL brush chipper was defective in design and Vermeer failed to provide adequate warnings and instructions for its safe use. Plaintiff was injured while working at Green-Wood Cemetery in the Bronx in December 2012 when his hand was caught between two logs on the brush chipper’s feed table while he was feeding a log into the brush chipper. He claimed defective design of the brush chipper’s feed rollers caused one of the logs to move sideways, impacting his hand. Vermeer defended the brush chipper’s design and warnings and instructions, and claimed that Nielsen’s own negligence caused his injuries. After a two week trial, the Court granted Vermeer’s motion to dismiss the design defect claim, but submitted the failure-to-warn claim to the jury. On October 4, 2018, the jury deliberated about one hour before returning a defense verdict, finding that Vermeer did not fail to provide adequate warnings and instructions for the brush chipper.
August 20, 2018. George Soule spoke on a panel today at a Minnesota CLE Seminar about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions involving racial and political gerrymandering, political apparel at the polls, and removing names from voter rolls. George joined Minneapolis lawyers Katherine Swenson and Charles Nauen in a lively discussion of opinions affecting voter rights and conduct at the polls, and governing redistricting of Congressional and legislative seats.
July 19, 2018 – Soule & Stull was a sponsor of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association golf tournament, held at The Meadows at Mystic Lake. The tournament benefits American Indian students attending Minnesota law schools. George is a past president of MAIBA. Soule & Stull has supported the golf tournament for five years and Melissa and George have played in the tournament together nearly every year for the last fourteen years.
George and Melissa were joined by Danielle Bird and Anton van der Merwe (not pictured). Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the rain kept the group off the course.
July 2018. Super Lawyers named George Soule a Super Lawyer and Melissa Stull a Rising Star in its 2018 rankings. George has received Super Lawyer designation each year since 1998 and Melissa has received Rising Star status each year since 2013.
June 29, 2018. Soule & Stull won dismissal of a claim against its clients alleging violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Plaintiffs alleged Defendants violated the Act by sending allegedly unsolicited text messages. Because Defendants were based principally in South Carolina, the firm asserted the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. Minnesota’s federal court granted the motion, dismissing the case at its earliest stage. Kevin Curry wrote the brief and argued the motion for the firm.
Plaintiffs had visited Defendants’ facility on guest passes, and argued the Defendants were subject to personal jurisdiction in Minnesota because one of the Defendants sent text messages to Plaintiffs’ Minnesota cell phones. The Court disagreed, reasoning that text messages were insufficient to confer jurisdiction under Eight Circuit case law, which holds that telephone calls and similar communications to the forum state do not create sufficient contacts to comport with due process. Additionally, the Court reasoned that sending text messages to cell phones with Minnesota area codes was insufficient to confer jurisdiction because a cell phone area code is not a reliable indicator of residence.
You may read a copy of the opinion here.
June 22, 2018. George Soule discussed Judicial Campaign Conduct and Activities at a seminar sponsored by the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards. Several 2018 state court candidates, and their supporters, attended the seminar. George discussed several aspects of judicial campaigns, including statutes, rules and codes that govern candidates’ conduct. George has co-chaired several campaigns for election of Minnesota Supreme Court justices and has served on committees for several other state court candidates.
May 18, 2018. Today, George attended the Investiture of Eighth Circuit Judge David Stras (former Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court) in Minneapolis. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at the event on behalf of his former law clerk. George had a chance to meet Justice Thomas at the reception after the event. George also caught up with his friend Rachel Brand, former United States Associate Attorney General and current Executive Vice President of Global Governance and Corporate Secretary at Walmart.
May 17, 2018. George Soule was a faculty member today at Minnesota ABOTA’s Masters in Trial program in Minneapolis. George cross-examined plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert, and joined plaintiff’s counsel Nate Bjerke in a discussion of the demonstration. Approximately 60 Minnesota lawyers attended the program. George is former President of Minnesota ABOTA, and now serves as ABOTA National Board Member from Minnesota.