Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court
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In this condemnation action, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court rejecting Landowners' theory of damages supporting their claim for severance damages, holding that the lower courts did not err. The State, acting through the Minnesota Department of Transportation, condemned a portion of Landowners' property for a construction project intended to improve the quality of Highway 61. Court-appointed commissioners awarded Landowners $391,000 in damages, $305,000 of which were severance damages attributable to the presumed loss of access to the property from the abutting highway during construction. Each party appealed the damages award. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Landowners were not entitled to damages for loss of access under a theory that assumes that the taking of a temporary easement for a highway improvement includes the taking of the right of access to abutting property; and (2) Landowners were not entitled to severance damages based on construction-related interferences as an alternative means of compensation. View "State, Commissioner of Transportation v. Elbert" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the tax court concluding that the market value of a distribution-warehouse property in Rogers, Minnesota was $15,638,000 as of January 2, 2014 and $15,597,000 as of January 2, 2015, holding that the tax court did not err in any of the ways asserted by Medline Industries. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the tax court (1) did not err by crediting some of the county appraiser's opinions despite rejecting his opinion about the highest and best use of the property as a multi-tenant facility; (2) did not clearly err in the sales-comparison approach by relying on four comparable sales other than the May 2017 of a former Walgreens distribution center; (3) did not err in its income approach analysis; and (4) did not err in relying on the cost approach. View "Medline Industries, Inc. v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

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In this challenge to a zoning ordinance prohibiting industrial mineral operations within Winona County the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the order of the district granting summary judgment to the County on all of Minnesota Sands, LLC's claims, holding that the ordinance was constitutional. Minnesota Sands, a mining company, sought to mine and process silica sand in the County. Minnesota Sands sued the County requesting declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. The district court granted summary judgment to the County. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the ordinance did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause or work an unconstitutional taking of Minnesota Sands' property interests. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Minnesota Sands had standing to bring this case; (2) the County's ordinance did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause on its face, in purpose or in effect; and (3) Minnesota Sands' takings claims failed because the property interests it claimed were taken by the County had not yet accrued. View "Minnesota Sands, LLC v. County of Winona, Minnesota" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellant's petition seeking the return of seized property, holding that the district court did not clearly err in finding that the seized property was being held as potential evidence in a pending investigation and in deciding that the property was being held in good faith. Appellant, an attorney, was part of an investigation. Pursuant to a search warrant, law enforcement officers seized electronic devices containing files about Appellant's current and former clients. Appellant filed a motion seeking the return of the seized property. The district court considered the motion to be a petition under Minn. Stat. 626.04 and denied the motion on the ground that the property was being held in good faith as potential evidence in an uncharged matter. While this appeal was pending, Appellant was charged with theft by swindle. The Supreme Court affirmed without prejudice to any future challenge to the lawfulness of the search and seizure, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition even though the court should have required the State to return the attorney copies of all client files seized. View "K.M. v. Burnsville Police Department" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over the amount of loss after a fire occurred at the home of Respondents the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court granting Respondents' motion to confirm an appraisal award but denying Respondents' motion for preaward interest as untimely, holding that the district court erred by applying the Minnesota Uniform Arbitration Act, Minn. Stat. 572B.01-.31, to a fire loss appraisal award. Respondents' home was insured against fire loss by Appellant. When Appellant and Respondent were unable to agree on the amount of the loss Respondents requested an appraisal. After an appraisal panel issued an award, which State Farm paid, Respondents sought confirmation of the appraisal and moved the court to grant preaward interest on the appraisal award. The superior court confirmed the appraisal award but denied the motion for preaward interest as untimely. The court of appeals reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Act did not apply to the appraisal process under the Minnesota Standard Fire Insurance Policy, Minn. Stat. 65A.01; and (2) a remand was necessary to allow the district court to determine whether Respondents were owed preaward interest and, if so, the amount of interest owed. View "Oliver v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this appeal from the tax court's conclusion that the market value of Relator's two parcels of improved real estate was higher than the initial assessment value determined by Hennepin County or the valuation opinion presented by the sole appraiser to testify at trial the Supreme Court reversed in part the tax court, holding that the tax court erred in its valuation determination under the sales comparison approach. Relator sought review of Hennepin County's assessed value of $8,384,300 for Relator's retail shopping center property as of January 2, 2015. After a trial, the tax court gave a final valuation determination for the property of $8,461,400. Relator appealed, arguing that the tax court's value determination was excessive. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the tax court did not err in its decision to afford no weight to Relator's expert's opinion on the income approach; but (2) the tax court erred in its valuation determination based on the sales-comparison approach. View "Inland Edinburgh Festival, LLC v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court reducing Hennepin County's valuation of a Lowe's store in Plymouth, Minnesota for the 2015 tax year, holding that the tax court did not inflate the property's fair market value and did not violate Lowe's due process rights. Lowe's petitioned the tax court asserting that Hennepin County's assessment for the 2015 tax year overstated the fair market value of the property. The tax court agreed and reduced the County's valuation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax court did not violate Lowe's due process rights by failing to rely on evidence in the record in reaching its conclusions; and (2) because the record supported the tax court's decision to place greater weight on the cost approach rather than on the sales approach and its adjustments under both approaches, the tax court did not violate Lowe's due process rights. View "Lowe's Home Centers, LLC (Plymouth) v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's dismissal of Village Lofts at St. Anthony Falls' common-law claims and statutory warranty claims, holding that, for statute of repose purposes, a single warranty date applies to an entire condominium claim and that the two buildings in this case that compromised a condominium building were separate improvements to real property. In dismissing Village Lofts' claims, the district court concluded that the claims were barred by the statutes of repose in Minn. Stat. 541.051. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) in determining how the statute of repose operates for claims of breach of the statutory warranties in Minn. Stat. ch. 327A, a single warranty date applies to each unit within a condominium building; and (2) the two buildings that compromised the condominium development at issue in this case constituted two separate improvements to real property for purposes of applying the repose period in Minn. Stat. 541.051 to defective and unsafe condition claims. View "Village Lofts at St. Anthony Falls Ass'n v. Housing Partners III-Lofts, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellants' action seeking judicial review of a zoning variance granted by the Town of Duluth to Charles and Carol Danielson-Bille (the Billes), holding that the Billes should have been joined as a necessary party under Minn. R. Civ. P. 19.01. The Billes sought to build a retirement home on Lake Superior. The Town of Duluth Board of Supervisors granted a zoning variance. In appealing the decision, Appellants properly served Duluth within the thirty-day appeal period set forth in the local Duluth ordinance that authorized judicial review of the zoning variance decision but failed to serve the Billes within the same thirty-day period. Duluth and the Billes filed motions to dismiss, asserting that service was improper. The district court dismissed Billes from the case because they had not been timely served and then dismissed the entire action with prejudice, determining that the Billes were a necessary and indispensable party under Rule 19.01 and that the action could not proceed without them. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred by dismissing the action rather than joining the Billes to the action under Rule 19.01. View "Schulz v. Town of Duluth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the judgment of the tax court reaching a valuation for KCP Hastings, LLC's shopping mall, holding that the tax court erred in the assignment of value to an outlot on the property and erred when it used a gross building area other than the one stipulated to by the parties and otherwise did not err. The Supreme Court previously remanded this case to the tax court after concluding that the tax court's valuation of KCP's properly was not reasonably supported by the record. On remand, the tax court reached a new valuation for KCP's property. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the tax court clearly erred in assigning value to a portion of the mall's parking lot on the basis that the outlot could be sold and developed; (2) the tax court erred by using a different gross building area than the one stipulated to by the parties; and (3) the remainder of the tax court's determinations were not erroneous. View "KCP Hastings, LLC v. County of Dakota" on Justia Law