Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court
by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court dismissing petitions filed by Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust (the Trust) challenging Anoka County's assessment of the Trust's three parcels of land in the county, holding that the tax court properly found that the properties were "income-producing" and that the Trust's disclosures were inadequate. Each parcel at issue in this case had a Walmart retail store, operated by Walmart, Inc. The Trust was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart. The tax court dismissed the Trust's petitions challenging the Trust's assessment of the parcels because the Trust failed to disclose certain information before the deadline set forth in Minn. Stat. 278.05, subd. 6(a). The Trust appealed, arguing that it was not subject to the mandatory disclosure rule because Walmart stores are not "income-producing" within the meaning of the tax statute's mandatory-disclosure provision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the properties were income-producing and that the Trust's disclosures were inadequate. View "Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust v. County of Anoka" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court discharged the writ of certiorari sought by Guardian Energy and dismissed the appeal in this case, holding that the order appealed from was not a final order at the time Guardian petitioned for a writ of certiorari, and therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction. In 2015, the Supreme Court remanded this case to the tax court, concluding that the tax court's external-obsolescence calculations in valuating Guardian's property were not reasonably supported by the records. Before judgment was entered on the tax court's new order entered in 2016, Waseca County filed a motion requesting correction of computational errors made by the tax court through amended findings. Thereafter, the tax court stayed entry of judgment. Before the tax court ruled on the County's motion, Guardian sought review of the tax court's order. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the County's unresolved motion and the tax court's stay of entry of judgment rendered the 2016 order not final. Therefore, this Court lacked jurisdiction over Guardian's appeal. View "Guardian Energy, LLC, Relator v. County of Waseca" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the order of the district court vacating the order of the Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that approved an annexation of certain property by the City of Proctor, holding that an orderly annexation agreement does not limit the authority of non-parties to the agreement to annex by ordinance property subject to the agreement. The City of Duluth and Midway Township entered into an orderly annexation agreement pursuant to Minn. Stat. 414.0325 regarding designated property in Midway and governing future annexations of that property by Duluth. Later, the owners of some of the designated property petitioned Proctor, a non-party to the agreement, to annex their property by ordinance pursuant to Minn. Stat. 414.033. Proctor did so, enacting an ordinance to that effect. The Chief ALJ issued a decision ruling that Proctor's annexation by ordinance was valid. The district court vacated the ALJ's decision, holding that Minn. Stat. 414.0325(1)(e) prevents annexations-by-ordinance of property within a designated area. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that orderly annexation agreements created under section 414.0325 do not prevent non-parties from annexing property by ordinance under section 414.033. View "In re Annexation of Certain Real Property to the City of Proctor from Midway Township" on Justia Law

by
In this family dispute over real estate ownership resulting in a land partition action the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's order finding Appellant in contempt for failure to pay sand and gravel royalties, holding that a party who acquired a royalty interest through a stipulated judgment may not enforce that interest by post judgment discovery and a contempt motion. The land partition action was settled and judgment was issued based on a stipulated settlement by the parties. As part of the settlement, Respondent agreed to convey a gravel pit to Appellant, reserving a one-seventh interest in sand and gravel royalties. Under the settlement and resulting judgment, Appellant was required to pay for these royalties and sign releases allowing Respondent to contact gravel purchasers for verification purposes. The district court later found Appellant in contempt for failure to pay royalties but allowed Appellant to purge the contempt finding by, inter alia, paying Respondent's attorney fees. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the parties' stipulated judgment created an interest in land and not a judgment debt, postjudgment discovery was not permitted; and (2) the district court erred in holding Appellant in contempt and ordering payment of attorney fees. View "Sehlstrom v. Sehlstrom" on Justia Law