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Former Harmony resident appointed District Judge in Ramsey Country

Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Posted in Harmony Court

Shawn Bartsh was born on a farm outside of Dover, Minn. She graduated from Harmony High School in 1972, attended Luther College, and then went on to law school at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. She remained in St. Paul, opening her own law firm in 1993.

It was while in college at Luther that Bartsh decided to study law. “I was working at the capital, and working for a lawyer, and it really interested me,” shared Bartsh.

Since becoming a lawyer in 1982, Bartsh has worked with personal injury law, as well as arbitration and mediation. She was also a conciliation court referee for 20 years. She worked with people on personal injury, juvenile, and other civil cases.

Recently, Bartsh was personally chosen by Governor Mark Dayton to be appointed 2nd District Judge for Ramsey County. She was sworn in on June 13, and she will no longer be practicing law.

“I really enjoyed being a lawyer,” shared Bartsh. “It was very rewarding to help my clients over the years. It’s a lot of work, but it’s nice to be able to use your education to help people.”

Bartsh experienced some heart-wrenching cases of personal injury and wrongful death, but she was able to help out a lot of families. She also played a big part in helping prevent further death and injuries when it comes to automatic garage door openers.

“I represented a family whose son was killed because the door didn’t reverse and it came down on him and he died,” Bartsh said. “There was also a little girl in Farmington who died the same way.”

Bartsh could imagine the horror of the parents having to live through this, and having their child die in such a tragic and preventable way. She explained the doors were designed to reverse but for a variety of reasons, it was a bad design. After the Farmington case, the family wanted to know what could be done to prevent other families from having to go through the same pain.

What struck Bartsh is that nothing had changed even though there were cases like this all over the country. “It was obviously not a freak accident,” she remarked. She began calling press conferences, and there was a lot of press and media coverage of a campaign to make electric sensors mandatory. The story was featured in Reader’s Digest, New York Times, CBS News, and various magazines.

“The technology was always there,” said Barts .....
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