Minnesota Domestic Abuse TRO – How to Get a Temporary Restraining Order

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Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-866-223-1111
Minnesota Domestic Abuse Project: 612-874-7063
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

A TRO is a Temporary Restraining Order issued by a Minnesota court judge. The most common type of TRO is for domestic abuse or threats of violence in the family context, but Temporary Restraining Orders are also used in the business context.

This article covers how to get a Minnesota domestic abuse Temporary Restraining Order, which is also called an Order for Protection or OFP. If you need a TRO against a non-family member, the standard TRO rules apply, which are covered here: Minnesota Business TRO – Temporary Restraining Order and Temporary Injunction.

How to Get a Temporary Restraining Order Against a Family Member

To get a TRO against a family member, do the following:

  1. Visit your local courthouse
  2. Ask the court clerk for the Order For Protection (OFP) forms
  3. Ask for the court clerk’s help in completing the OFP forms
  4. Wait for the judge to sign the OFP

Minnesota Domestic Abuse TRO

A TRO in the domestic abuse context is technically called an Order for Protection (OFP). That is, the court is issuing and order for you to be protected from the domestic abuse of another person.  Orders for protection (OFPs) is available in cases of domestic abuse.

A domestic TRO/OFP may be used to get a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or stalker to leave you or your family members alone. To get a domestic abuse TRO, all you have to do is visit your local courthouse, compete the forms while you are there, and you can obtain an OFP signed by the judge. Of course, the forms require that you state under oath that you have a valid basis for requesting the TRO. You must have already been a domestic abuse victim. For example, you would be a domestic abuse victim if a family member put you in immediate fear of physical harm, which is often through threats or attempts to hurt you.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each situation has its own complexities and there are many aspects to discuss to understand the details of your situation and advise you accurately. We have an experienced attorney here who would be happy to analyze your situation’s circumstances and advise you of your legal rights and options. This can generally be accomplished during a one-hour meeting (which can be by phone). Our fee for a one-hour meeting is $300. Work beyond that initial hour is at usual hourly rates. We do not offer free consultations on this type of work.

What is Domestic Abuse?

The Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic abuse to mean the following conduct, if committed against a family or household member by a family or household member:

  • physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • terrorist threats, within the meaning of section 609.713, subdivision 1; or criminal sexual conduct, within the meaning of sections 609.342, 609.343, 609.344, 609.345, or 609.3451; or interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section

For more information, contact a Minnesota family law attorney.

Other Resources

Children Abuse Centers/Hotlines:

Minneapolis Confidentiality Agreements: What is a Confidentiality Agreement?

Do you own a business and want to require your employees to keep your business’s information confidential? Are you an employee who is being asked by your employer to sign a confidentiality agreement?

Purpose of Confidentiality Agreements

A confidentiality agreement is a contract. Contracts are promises. Confidentiality agreements are used in situations where someone will learn confidential information of another but that other person wants to make sure that the information is not further disclosed.

For example, an employee may hire an employee. During the course of the employee’s employment, the employee will necessarily learn some secrets of the employer.

An employer’s secrets may be trade secrets. An employer’s secrets may be secret information about the identity of clients, secret information about a recipe used by the employer, or secret information contained in documents in the employer’s possession. An employer’s secret information can be anything that is unknown to the public, the competition, or others from whom the employer wants it to remain secret. Therefore, the employer may require that the employee sign a confidentiality agreement.

Substance of Confidentiality Agreements

In order to protect secret information, a confidentiality agreement will state that the person who is about to learn this information promises not to disclose it to others. The person about to learn this information may not disclose it now, or at any time in the future as long as it is still secret information.

Often times a confidentiality agreement will define confidential information, or the secret information, as relevant information that is not generally known or available to the public or known to competitors. The contract may list some of the following as confidential information: financial condition, invoices, contracts, forms, research, price lists, vendor information, marketing materials, advertising materials and developments, sales materials and reports, copyrighted materials, trade secrets, designs, manufacturing processes, client lists, client preferences, client needs, client identities, potential client identities, and any other data.

Breaking a Confidentiality Agreement

When a person signs a confidentiality agreement the person is promising to abide by the terms of that agreement. Failure to abide by the terms of that agreement results in a breach of the contract.

When a person breaches a confidentiality agreement, the other person is entitled to monetary or other relief. Often times a confidentiality agreement will have a paragraph explaining the remedies for breach of the agreement. By signing the confidentiality agreement the parties are agreeing to those remedies in the event of a breach of the agreement.

Is a Website Sufficient Minimum Contacts for Personal Jurisdiction in a Minnesota Lawsuit?

In 2003, the Minnesota Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether a website that was accessible from Minnesota was sufficient to fulfill the “minimum contacts” requirement for Minnesota’s long arm statute to establish personal jurisdiction in a Minnesota lawsuit. The short answer was “no.”

Only Meikikou’s English-language Internet site provides a contact that could be interpreted as an advertisement accessible to Minnesotans in Minnesota. The Internet site, however, was primarily a broad promotion of the company and general advertisement of its products. It did not provide an avenue for communicating with customers and did not target Minnesota. There also was no evidence of “hits” on the Internet site or successful Internet solicitations of Minnesota residents. In any event, jurisdiction cannot be based solely on the ability to access an Internet site, see GTE New Media Servs., Inc. v. BellSouth Corp., 199 F.3d 1343, 1349-50 (D.C.Cir.2000), particularly when the cause of action is unrelated to the Internet site. Cf. State v. Granite Gate Resorts, 568 N.W.2d 715 (Minn.App.1997) (concluding that minimum contacts existed where Internet advertising involved multiple contacts with Minnesota residents on the Internet, including one successful solicitation, and cause of action arose from Internet connection), aff’d mem.,576 N.W.2d 747 (Minn.1998). While indirect contacts are sufficient for personal jurisdiction, Rostad v. On-Deck, Inc., 372 N.W.2d 717, 721 (Minn.1985) (noting distribution contracts and marketing efforts calculated to create a national market for the product), the nonresident defendant must have those contacts, not just the distributor. In re Minn. Asbestos Litig., 552 N.W.2d 242, 247 (Minn.1996); see also Welsh v. Takekawa Iron Works, Co., 529 N.W.2d 471, 474 (Minn.App.1995) (noting that jurisdiction may be proper where wide-scale marketing efforts or nationwide sales of commonly used products existed).

See Juelich v. Yamazaki Mazak Optonics Corp., 670 N.W.2d 11, 18-19 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003).

Thus, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed that the district court correctly dismissed, for lack of personal jurisdiction, claims against a company with a website accessible from Minnesota.

Please note that cases applying traditional law to the internet is an evolving area of law. Thus, you should contact an attorney and research whether there are new cases on this topic before relying on the case here.

Personal Injury Settlement Loans: The "It’s My Money" People

Perhaps you have seen the commercials on TV with the people yelling “It’s my money and I want it NOW.” The ads are targeted towards people who are involved in personal injury lawsuits who are expecting settlements. They also apply to people who have what are called structured settlements – basically meaning that your settlement is paid out over time like an annuity.

Why Lawsuit or Judgment Settlement Loans are a Bad Idea

If you are tight for money, these loans can seem very appealing. You may be able to get some money for your claim before you have even reached a settlement. Sometimes the companies promise that if you do not reach a settlement, you will not have to repay anything. If you have a structured settlement with a long term payment plan, it can also be tempting to take money up front and trade your long term interest.

Stop! Don’t do it!

Here’s an example from a prior client: she took a dangerous medication that caused her to have a dangerous blood clot. She filed a claim against the drug manufacturer. Shortly after she filed the claim, she got a loan from one of these companies for $9,000. The loan was based on her expected settlement. Two years later we reached a settlement with the drug company for $75,000. The loan company gave us an amount our client owed on that $9,000 loan from two years earlier — $32,000!!! The amount of her debt had more than tripled because of how they calculated the interest on the loan. After repaying the debt along with attorney’s fees and expenses, our client received very little money.

What about a structured settlement? You receive pennies on the dollar for the value of your settlement. The loan company gives you a reduced value for your settlement and then it receives the full value of the annuity.

Work with a Lawyer you Trust

If you have a personal injury claim, contact a lawyer you trust. They will help you through the process and negotiate a settlement to meet your needs – or go to trial. It is important that you trust your lawyer to advise you not only about your claim, but also about any settlement or its terms. Most lawyers can help direct you towards financial planners that can help you with settlement terms. They will not encourage you to take any sort of loan on your settlement.

Paying for Litigation in Minnesota

Man Finished with Litigation Litigation can be an intimidating prospect. The court system can be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with it. There are several procedural rules and time limits that you must follow. Litigation can also be expensive. There are a number of different kinds of fee agreements, depending on your situation. Do not let the fear of legal costs keep you from consulting an experienced lawyer. Here is a terminology break down that may help to better understand some of the various fee agreements:

Hourly with Retainer

Probably the most common attorney’s fee agreement involves an hourly rate. The attorney is paid a set amount per hour of work and usually tracks time in tenths of an hour. The amount billed per hour varies greatly depending on a person’s experience, expertise, and qualifications. It also may depend on the size and complexity of the case involved. A retainer is a set amount paid in advance for legal fees. The amount is held in a trust fund. As you incur legal bills, the lawyer withdraws the amount owed from the prepaid retainer. If you fire the lawyer or settle the case and there is still money left from the retainer, the lawyer must return it to you.


In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer accepts a percentage of the final recovery for his fee rather than a set hourly amount. The lawyer usually assumes the risk of losing – meaning if there is no recovery, the attorney does not get any fees. The percentage for the contingency fee may vary from 20% to 40%. Often the percentage is dependent on when the case resolves, reflecting the amount of work the attorney has to put in to resolve the case. Whether an attorney will accept a case on contingency depends significantly on the level of risk involved and likely recovery. Usually only personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.

Flexible Fee Structures

There is no question that litigation can be very expensive. That is why it is crucial to find an attorney you trust to keep your goals and budget in mind. The experienced lawyers at Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley will work with you to find a litigation strategy and budget that fit your needs. You do not have to sacrifice quality representation.

How Minnesota Insurance Companies Handle a Personal Injury

Personal Injury Victim

Many times people struggle with what to do if they are injured by the negligence of a friend or family member.  It can strain a relationship to sue someone, to say the least.  What most people recognize, however, is that your friend or family member’s insurance company will likely handle the case.  People purchase insurance for precisely that reason: To defend and indemnify them if they are injured or sued.  With a little insight into how insurers handle the process, you can better prepare for filing a claim.

Identifying the Insurer

The first step to filing a claim is determining which insurer to put on notice.  If you were involved in an auto accident, you should obtain the insurance policy information for the at-fault driver.  This can be an awkward situation if the driver is a friend or family member, but remember that the purpose of insurance is to take care of claims.  If you are injured while visiting a home, condo, or apartment, you will need to put the homeowner’s or renter’s insurer on notice.  If you are in a public or common area at a condo or apartment, you may also need to notify the property manager and its insurer.  Once you have retained an attorney, he or she will send a letter of representation to the insurance company advising it of your potential claim and notifying the company to contact your attorney rather than you directly.  In order to send the letter of representation, however, the attorney must know who the correct insurer is.

Setting Reserves

Insurers like to start investigating potential claims as soon as possible.  Don’t be surprised if they want to interview you or even get copies of your medical records.  Insurers do something called “setting reserves” for claims.  This means that they estimate the value of your potential claim so they can hold funds in case they pay for the claim.  It is important that you provide honest and complete details about your injury early so that the insurance company can set accurate  reserves.  If you undervalue your claim, it will make it very difficult later to recover a fair amount for your injuries.  An experienced attorney can help position your case to maximize its value from the start.


Insurance companies make their money by holding and investing funds.  Thus it is common for insurers to delay on paying liability claims, even totally legitimate claims.  An experienced personal injury attorney can help speed up the process for you by working with the insurance adjustor.  Contact an attorney at Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley if you have suffered an injury.

Minnesota Daycare Negligence: MN Daycare Abuse & Injury Attorney

Crying Child Neglected at Daycare Choosing a daycare professional can be a difficult decision.  It is hard for many parents to trust a stranger to care for their children.  If a parent later discovers that the daycare has abused, mistreated, or neglected their child, it can be very traumatic.  Parents may feel guilt about entrusting their child to the daycare and anger over the treatment of their child.  If your child has been the victim of daycare abuse or neglect, you may wish to contact a lawyer.

Daycare Negligence Claims

There are many claims that can arise out of a daycare’s treatment of your child.  If your son or daughter has special dietary or medical needs, the failure to attend to those needs may be negligent.  It is also important for daycare providers to make sure they provide safe facilities.  If your child is injured by a dangerous condition at the daycare, you may have a claim.  Sometimes daycare providers fail to appropriately screen or train employees, which can also result in claims.  It is not acceptable for daycare providers to use any sort of physical discipline with children.  You might have a claim for assault if your child was spanked, slapped, or in any other way abused by a daycare provider.  It is also not unheard of for daycare providers to have too many children and not enough staff to provide appropriate care.  If your child has been neglected and has developed problems, you may have a claim.

Contact an Attorney

If your child has been mistreated, abused, injured, or neglected by a daycare provider, consider contacting an attorney.  The lawyers at Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley can help you investigate whether you have a claim and can help you pursue your claims.

Minnesota Drug Recall Lawyers

Drugs at a Pharmacy Waiting to be Recalled It seems like every time you turn on the news you hear about another drug or medical device that has been recalled from the market.  There are hundreds of pharmaceuticals in use that have dangerous side effects that were not disclosed to doctors or patients.  Here are some recent examples:

  • Vioxx: Perhaps the most famous drug case in recent years is the painkiller Vioxx.  Hundreds of people suffered heart attacks and other cardiac problems as a result of taking the drug.  The manufacturer of the drug knew about the risks, but did not do enough to warn doctors or patients.
  • Prempro/Hormone Replacement Therapy: Thousands of women take some sort of hormone replacement therapy during menopause.  In 2003, a government-sponsored study was released that showed a significant increase in heart attack, cardiac problems, and breast cancer among users of HRT.  Once again, the manufacturer was aware of these risks long before the study was released, but failed to warn doctors or patients.
  • Raptiva: In 2009, the FDA issued a warning that Raptiva, a psorias drug, can cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare brain infection.

Other drugs and devices include Digitek, Levaquin, Kugel mesh hernia patch, shoulder pain pumps, duragesic pain patches, Bextra, Fosamax, and Guidant defibrilators.

Drug Recall Lawyers

There are hundreds of websites sponsored by lawyers or law firms that provide basic information about drug recalls and side effects.  It is important to keep in mind that these websites are not designed to provide medical advice.  Contact your doctor or medical provider with questions about your health and whether you should continue to use a medication. With the thousands of lawyers all over the country handling these sorts of cases, how do you find the right lawyer for you?  Experience and  relationships count.  While there are hundreds of lawyers taking Vioxx cases, very few lawyers are actually arguing the cases in court.  When you have been injured, you deserve representation by an attorney who knows the case well, understands the issues, and is familiar with the court procedures to get your case filed.  Often when there are thousands of similar cases all over the country, federal courts will consolidate cases in one court (Multi-District Litigation).  This allows one judge to manage the process and makes sure that all cases are treated equally.  Make sure your attorney is familiar with this process and can handle your case correctly. Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley has relationships with attorneys all over the country who specialize in drug and medical device cases.  We can help you find the most experienced, qualified lawyer to handle your case.

Update: Please note that we do not take Prempro cases any more.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Minnesota

Uninsured Cars

Minnesota Auto Insurance Law

Minnesota requires all drivers to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance in order to operate a vehicle.  Most people do have at least the minimum coverage of $30,000 and many have even more coverage.  What is the benefit of requiring insurance?  Car accidents are an inevitable part of driving.  No matter how careful you are, you may still be the victim of an accident.  If everyone has insurance, your basic injury and property damage claims should be paid.  But what happens if you are hit by one of the people who does not have insurance?

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you are involved in an accident and the other driver does not have insurance, you may be entitled to recover under your own uninsured motorist coverage.  This is a provision in your insurance policy that protects you in case you are in an accident with someone who is uninsured.  Underinsured motorist coverage protects you in cases of serious accidents.  Even if the other driver has insurance, it may not be enough to reimburse you for the medical expenses you have incurred as a result of an accident.  Underinsured coverage provides another layer of protection for you when you are seriously injured.

The amount of coverage you can receive under either uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage depends on the language in your insurance policy as well as state laws.  There are also strict procedural requirements if you wish to sue the driver who caused your accident while also preserving your claim for underinsured motorist coverage.  It is important to contact a lawyer to discuss your options before you pursue your claims to make sure you obtain the best possible recovery.

Birth Defects from Pharmaceutical Drugs During Pregnancy

Baby After Birth

Prescription Drugs and Pregnancy

Most women are aware of the need to monitor drugs, alcohol, and even their diet while pregnant.  Whatever they ingest could affect the development of the baby.  But what about prescription drugs?  Most women assume their doctor knows whether a prescription is safe to take during pregnancy and will warn her if not.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Dangers of Taking Some Pharmaceutical Drugs Pregnancy

There are some drug manufacturers that have worked hard to conceal the dangers of taking their pharmaceuticals during pregnancy.  As a result, thousands of babies have been injured.  Take for example antidepressants.  While SSRIs such as Prozac have been a miracle for women suffering depression, they also create risks for fetuses.  Thousands of women have taken SSRIs during pregnancy without ever knowing about the potential risks.  Women jeopardized the health if their children by their own ignorance of the risks.  They remained ignorant because their doctors were also unaware of the risks; the only people with knowledge of the dangers were the manufacturers and they hid the truth.

When to Contact a Lawyer

If you suffered an injury during pregnancy due to the undisclosed risks of a prescription drug, you should consider contacting a lawyer.  The attorneys at Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley, LLC can help you evaluate whether you have a claim.