Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear readers,

A few of my Facebook fans recently asked me these questions:

“Is the North Dakota Capitol building the tallest Capitol in the nation?”

“Is it an old wives’ tale that there can be no other building built taller than the North Dakota Capitol building in the state?”

I turned to the State Historical Society of North Dakota for some answers. Here’s what Jim Davis, head of reference services, said:

“The Louisiana state Capitol is taller, and the North Dakota Capitol building was actually based on that in Louisiana and Nebraska.

“There is no law in North Dakota concerning the height of buildings taller than the Capitol, even in Bismarck. The only reason that buildings aren’t built as high is that there is no lack of space to build as there is in larger cities.”

A Grand Forks reader sent me the following:

“My daughter was awarded money due to a car accident. Her lawyer kept the award money.

“Minnesota requires lawyers to be bonded in Minnesota. North Dakota doesn’t make lawyers be bonded. My daughter got nothing. My daughter can’t work, and it has cost me many dollars for medical expenses.

“My questions: Why aren’t lawyers in North Dakota required to be bonded? Why didn’t the courts award North Dakota victim money?”

I talked to Tim Groshens of the Minnesota State Bar Association, who said lawyers are not required to be bonded in Minnesota.

“There is a client security fund board in Minnesota that in some instances, not every but in some instances, will reimburse the client where the loss has been the result of a lawyer’s theft.”

I also talked to State Bar Association of North Dakota Executive Director Bill Neumann. Here’s what he said:

“Bonding isn’t a practical solution because all that would happen then is lawyers would pass the cost of the bond on to the client as an expense.

“Like Minnesota, North Dakota has a client protection fund that can reimburse part or all of a client’s loss in those rare cases where embezzlement occurs.

“Every lawyer licensed in North Dakota pays in $16 every year to build the fund.

“Right now, the amount that can be paid to any one client can’t exceed $25,000, but our goal is to build a client protection fund balance of $500,000.  If and when we get there, my recommendation to the association will be to keep building the fund and raise the limits.”

If you think you qualify for the fund, you can call Neumann at (701) 255-1404 or e-mail him at The fund is limited to embezzlement cases.

Do you have a question for a state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, N.D. 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

One thought on “Today’s Ask Your Government

  1. @ Grand Forks reader
    Although this isn’t the answer you want, if what you say regarding the lawyer’s theft is really true, you should contact another lawyer about filing a claim against the first.

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