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CAI-MN Law Seminar 2015
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When: Tuesday, October 13
11:15 am to 4:30 pm
Where: Minneapolis Marriot Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka, MN  55343

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Agenda | Speaker Information | Credentials


– $45 for members
– $55 for nonmembers


11:15 a.m. Registration
11:45 a.m.

Lunch & Keynote Presentation

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: A Review of Real Life Scenarios from 30 Years of Legal Practice
Tom Carlson, Carlson & Associatesbio
Nigel Mendez, Carlson & Associatesbio

Come and hear from two experienced attorneys with over 30 years of experience in HOA law. We will touch on various legal issues in the context of real life situations that we have addressed over the years.  The discussion will provide practical advice on how to handle the difficult and sometimes strange situations that can arise in an HOA.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Dealing with difficult, hostile and harassing members
  2. Architectural control violations
  3. Difficult collection issues
  4. Garbage houses
  5. FHA and HUD claims
  6. Governing document enforcement issues
12:45 p.m. Networking Break
1:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions - Round 1


Track 1 - The Accommodation of Support and Service Animals in Common Interest Communities
Fred Krietzman, Felhaber Larson bio
Molly Gherty, Felhaber Larson bio

A discussion of the legal issues relating to requests made by disabled residents in CICs for a reasonable accommodation in the governing documents of the CIC, to allow the residents to keep support or assistance animals in their units.  The seminar will assist boards and managers in deciding what due diligence associations can and should do when faced with these requests, while balancing the legal rights of the requesting residents.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand what are the statutory requirements related to a request for an accommodation in housing.
  2. Gain a practical understanding of how to apply the statutory requirements when presented with a request for an accommodation.
  3. Provide examples of how courts have interpreted the legal requirements, including the potential liability for failure to appropriately respond to a request.

Track 2 - Lipstick on a Pig: The Coming Wave of Condo Conversions and Construction Defects
Alex Nelson, Benson Kerrane Storz & Nelson bio

In recent years, the multifamily construction boom in the Twin Cities has focused on apartments, not condos or townhomes. Market analysts expect many of those apartments to be converted into for-sale CIC units in the coming years as market demands changes. If construction defects exist in those pre-existing, older structures, what recourse might the future HOA and/or the unit owners have, and against whom?

Learning Objectives:

  1. Help community managers identify potential construction defect legal claims against condominium convertors and others involved in the process of condominium conversion.   
  2. Help community managers understand the market forces and trends that will likely lead to a flood of condominium conversions in the foreseeable future.   
2:00 p.m. Networking Break
2:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions - Round 2

Track 1 – Collections
Gretchen Schellhas, Chestnut Cambronne PA bio

Basic routes of collection of past due assessments by common interest communities, including initial assessments, liens, foreclosure, mortgage foreclosure and bankruptcy

Learning Objectives:

  1. Assist Managers in their understanding about what collection options are available
  2. Help to clarify the collection process, including foreclosure and judgments

Track 2 – Construction and Maintenance of Street, Sidewalks, and Utilities
Michael Klemm, Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer P.A. bio

Who is responsible to construct and maintain streets, sidewalks and utilities, and who is responsible for the cost? This seminar will address the obligations of cities, developers and property owners under

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the application, design, review and approval process for subdivision and development of land, to understand the background and context for issues regarding streets, sidewalks and utilities. 
  2. Understand city and developer obligations under development agreements, planned development agreements and Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B regarding construction of streets, sidewalks and utilities. 
  3. Understand city, developer, association and unit owner obligations to perform and pay for maintenance, repair and replacement of streets, sidewalks and utilities.
  4. Understand the application of these requirements where the original developer fails to complete the development of streets, sidewalks and utilities.
3:15 p.m. Networking Break
3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions - Round 3

Track 1 - All in the Family: Dealing with Meatheads, Dingbats, and Other Problems
Einar Hanson, Strobel & Hansonbio
Jon Edin, Strobel & Hansonbio

Overview of best practices for avoiding legal disputes in managing multi-family communities, and how do deal with them when they arise

Learning Objectives:

  1. Rules and regulation development, implementation, enforcement, judgments.
  2. Contracting with vendors, clauses to avoid, clauses to insist upon.
  3. Defective conditions- documenting, investigating, insurance or legal remedies.

Track 2 - Lawsuits in the World of Community Associations: The Basics
Rob Keena, Hellmuth & Johnson  bio

This presentation will discuss basic lawsuits and litigation that community association property managers and board members commonly face. It will cover the topics of property insurance claims, construction defects, board member vs. community member lawsuits, liabilities for violating public adjuster statutes, claims of discrimination, and maintenance and personal injury cases. This course will also highlight real case examples of community association lawsuits in Minnesota this year.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Update board members and property managers about case law and litigation issues that commonly pertain to homeowners associations. 
  2. Understand the basics of common lawsuits: how to best prevent them and the best approach to take should they be faced with one.  
4:30 p.m. 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 Eight 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.  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.

Fred Krietzman

Fred Krietzman, Felhaber Larson

Fred Krietzman is a shareholder with the law firm of Felhaber Larson, which has offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and is the Chair of the law firm’s Real Estate Section.  Fred represents several homeowners associations, as well as multifamily developers and individuals.  Fred is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Hennepin County Bar Association.  He is a former director of, and former chair of the Legal Committee of, the Minnesota Chapter of the Community Associations Institute.  Fred is a frequent speaker at seminars on issues relating to homeowners associations and common interest communities, and has also authored several articles on those issues.

Molly Gherty

Molly Gherty, Felhaber Larson

Molly Gherty focuses her practice in the areas of business and corporate organizations, real estate and intellectual property. She enjoys helping clients swiftly achieve their business goals in order to enhance their development and business activity. Detail-oriented, personable and client-centric, Molly excels at translating clients’ goals into legal realities.

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.

Gretchen Schellhas

Gretchen Schellhas, Chestnut Cambronne PA

A partner at Chestnut Cambronne, Gretchen focuses her legal practice in the area of real estate, particularly in counseling and representing homeowners associations. From condominiums to townhomes to single-family common interest communities, Gretchen advises these clients drawing on more than a quarter century of experience in real estate law. Gretchen works closely with property managers and boards of directors to meet the varied needs of association clients, including declarant/developer turnover, contract interpretation, document revision, and assessment collection. Clients appreciate Gretchen's direct and practical approach to the issues which arise.

Gretchen is perennially named as a Super Lawyer by Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine. She regularly speaks on association-related topics to association-related trade groups of property managers, board members, and vendors. Gretchen is also a regular presenter at the Minnesota Real Estate Institute, the premier continuing legal education course for Minnesota real estate attorneys. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Hennepin County Bar Association. Gretchen has also been a member of the Minnesota Women's Consortium Steering Committee, as well as an officer of the Minnesota Women's Political Caucus.

Michael Klemm

Michael Klemm, Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer P.A.

Michael Klemm is a shareholder with Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer P.A.  He represents clients in connection with real estate transactions, land use regulation, real estate development and common interest communities. Michael achieved certification as a Real Property Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association in 2006, and he has repeatedly been recognized as a "Rising Star" in real estate law by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business.

Michael has assisted clients with hundreds of residential and commercial real estate transactions, including purchases and sales, leases and financing. In addition, he is frequently involved in zoning, land use and development matters, advising city staff as a municipal attorney, representing property owners and developers, and conducting public hearings and making decisions as a member of a planning commission and board of adjustment and appeals.

A significant portion of Michael's law practice is devoted to condominiums, townhomes and master-planned communities. Michael represents developers, homeowners associations and management companies in connection with drafting and amending governing documents, enforcing rules and covenants, and general corporate and management issues. Michael is actively involved in the ongoing development of the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 515B, as a member of the MCIOA Committee of the MSBA Real Property Law Section and as a member of the Minnesota Legislative Action Committee of Community Associations Institute.

Einar Hanson

Einar Hanson, Strobel & Hanson

Einar Hanson is an accomplished civil litigator and has been a shareholder of Strobel & Hanson, PA since 1993.  He is a Civil Trial Specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association, and he has been selected by Minnesota Law and Politics for inclusion in its "Super Lawyers" list each year since 1998. 

He has been a member of CAI since 1986, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Wisconsin State Bar Assocation and the American Bar Association. Mr. Hanson is Av-rated by the Martindale-Hubbell rating service.

Jon Edin

Jon Edin, Strobel & Hanson

Jonathan Edin is a Senior Associate at the law firm of Strobel & Hanson, PA.  Raised in central Minnesota, Jonathan is an honors graduate of both the University of Minnesota and Pepperdine University School of Law.  In his 20 years of practice, Jonathan has focused his career on litigation, both as an elected County Attorney and in the private sector.  He has represented private individuals, insurance companies, and governmental entities.  He is an accomplished trial attorney, having handled hundreds of bench trial cases and many jury trial cases to verdict.

Jonathan has served as Chapter President of the Community Associations Institute, Minnesota Chapter, and presently serves on theTrade Show  and Golf Committees.  He is a past member of CIC Midwest’s planning committee. Jonathan has presented numerous seminars on construction defect litigation topics in the Twin Cities area, as well as writing several articles on construction defect-related issues for CAI Community Living Magazine and CIC Midwest Magazine.

Rob Keena

Rob Keena, Hellmuth & Johnson

Rob Keena is chair of Hellmuth & Johnson’s litigation practice and an active member of the real estate, construction and employment law practices. He channels his tenacity and imagination on behalf of Minnesota and North Dakota individuals and businesses that face a variety of litigation issues, including: complex multi-party litigation, commercial disputes, mortgage loan repurchases and buy-back litigation, construction disputes, employment law and litigation, insurance claims and probate litigation.

Since 2008, Rob has been chosen for inclusion in the Minnesota Super Lawyers list; only 5% of attorneys in Minnesota are selected each year. He is a frequent speaker and author on a multitude of legal issues including community association, construction and litigation matters. Rob 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.

Professional Credentials & Real Estate Credits:

Professional Credentials:
All CAI-MN events qualify toward earning and maintaining your professional credentials (CMCA, AMS, PCAM, etc.). Visit the Professional Credentials webpage to learn more!

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

Admission to all CAI-MN events requires advance registration either by mail, online, or in person. Individuals will not be admitted to an event without payment. Failure to attend an event does not constitute a cancellation of event registration and you will be charged for registering.


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