Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals in this appeal involving a dispute between a homeowner and an insurance company over prejudgment interest, holding that Minnesota standard fire insurance policy, Minn. Stat. 65A/01, entitled Homeowner to prejudgment interest in an amount that may result in a total recovery that exceeded the policy limit.Homeowner sought coverage from Insurer after fires damaged his home. Insurer denied coverage, leading Homeowner to bring this lawsuit. A jury found for Homeowner. The district court award awarded Homeowner prejudgment interest in a limited amount, finding that Homeowner's total recovery for his personal property loss could not permissibly exceed the policy coverage limit. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the district court to recalculate prejudgment interest, holding that, consistent with past precedent interpreting the standard fire policy, prejudgment interest can lawfully begin accruing before ascertainment of the loss when the insurer denies all liability. View "Else v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals applying the statutory definition of "public waters" in Minn. Stat. 103G.005, subd. 15, to determine whether the upper reach of Limbo Creek was a public water, holding that the court of appeals did not err.At issue was the upper reach of Limbo Creek in Renville County and whether it was a public water for purposes of environmental review under Minn. Stat. 116D.01-.11. Specifically in question was whether the classification of waters as "public water" was based on the statutory definition of "public waters" in Minn. Stat. 103G.005, subd. 15, or the "public waters inventory" maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' reliance on the statutory definition of "public waters" to determine in this case whether the upper reach of Limbo Creek was a public water, holding that court of appeals did not err. View "In re Petition of MCEA" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals construing a letter that Defendants submitted to the district court under Minn. R. Gen. Proc. 115.11 as a permissible tolling motion under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 104.01, subd. 2 and accepting jurisdiction, holding that a request for permission to file a motion to reconsider pursuant to Rule 115.11 does not toll the time for appeal.In this dispute between commercial property owners over the allegedly fraudulent behavior of one of the owners during the refinancing of the property Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiffs' claims were untimely and lacked merit. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. Thereafter, Defendants filed the letter at issue seeking to correct an erroneous reference in the order. The district court issued an amended summary judgment order without directly responding to the letter. Defendants appealed, arguing that the appeal was untimely. The court of appeals accepted jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appeal was untimely, and therefore, the court of appeals erred by accepting jurisdiction. View "Stern 1011 First Street South, LLC v. Gere" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging that Defendant violated the Minnesota Bond Allocation Act, Minn. Stat. 474A.01-.21, holding that Plaintiff alleged a violation of the Act sufficient to support her common-law and statutory claims.Plaintiff, who leased and lived in one of Defendant's rent-restricted housing units, brought this putative class action alleging that Defendant violated the Act, which imposes rent limits on residential rental projects financed with tax-exempt municipal bonds. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff stated a viable action, and therefore, the district court erred in dismissing her complaint. View "Thompson v. St. Anthony Leased Housing Associates II, LP" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the tax court finding that the Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. 13.01-.90, prohibited Hennepin County from disclosing certain nonpublic data contained within its expert appraisal report and ordering portions of the County's expert report containing those data to be excluded at trial, holding that the tax court erred.At issue in the underlying property tax trial involving G&I IX OIC LLC was an expert report containing nonpublic data about comparable rental properties to establish the market value of G&I's office tower. The tax court determined that the County could not use the nonpublic data at trial without first securing the court's approval. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the tax-code provision of Minn. Stat., subdivision 3, governed in this case and permitted the County to use its expert appraisal report, which were included in nonpublic data in "assessor's records" at trial. View "Tax Court v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals and remanded this case, holding that, for property to be commandeered, the government must exercise exclusive control over or obtain exclusive possession of the property such that the government could physically use it for an emergency management purpose.Appellant brought this suit arguing that his hospitality businesses were commandeered when the Governor issued emergency executive orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that imposed capacity limits for dining beginning in March 2020. As the owner of the commandeered property, Appellant argued, he was entitled to just compensation for the government's use under Minn. Stat. 12.34. The district court dismissed the commandeering claim, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the government exercises exclusive physical control or exclusive possession of private property when only the government may exercise control or possession of the property and the owner is denied all control over or possession of the property; and (2) remand to the district court for further proceedings was required in this case. View "Buzzell v. Walz" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court granting the motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by Defendant, Grant Park Association, and dismissing Plaintiff's action alleging that Defendant violated the Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act of 1993, Minn. Stat. 515B.1-101 to .4-118, holding that the district court erred.After Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiff's request for the postal and e-mail addresses of all members of the Association Plaintiff brought this action alleging that Defendant violated the Act and the Association's bylaws by not turning over the records. The district court granted Defendant's motion for judgment for the pleadings. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an association must disclose all records that fall under the categories listed in Minn. Stat. 515B.3-118, including records of membership kept by the association; (2) Defendant's bylaws required the same level of disclosure as the Act; and (3) Plaintiff adequately pleaded his claims to survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings. View "Harkins v. Grant Park Ass'n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the tax court ruling on certain motions filed by Taxpayer and rejecting Taxpayer's statutory claim that its property was unequally assessed, holding that the tax court did not abuse its discretion in ruling on the motions, and Taxpayer failed to present evidence to support the unequal assessment claim.On appeal, Taxpayer challenged the tax court's denial of its motion to compel Washington County to produce information about other similar properties, its motion to amend the pleadings to add unequal assessment and disparate treatment claims, and its motion to compel the county assessor to testify. Taxpayer further appealed the tax court's rejection of Taxpayer's unequal assessment claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the tax court's denial of Taxpayer's motions was not an abuse of discretion; and (2) the tax court did not err in rejecting the unequal assessment claim. View "Chambers Self-Storage Oakdale, LLC v. County of Washington" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the tax court concluding that three clinics - Perham Clinic, Ottertail Clinic, and New York Mills Clinic - were not subject to property tax because they clinics were exempt under Minn. Stat. 447.31, subd. 6, holding that there was no error.The exemption at issue is provided for hospital districts. At issue on appeal was whether to classify the three medical clinics that were owned and operated by Perham Hospital District as taxable or exempt. Otter Tail County classified the clinics as commercial and thus subject to property tax, concluding that the tax exemption at issue was available to hospitals and not to clinics. After a trial, the tax court concluded that the clinics were exempt from tax under Minn. Stat. 447.31, subd. 6. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the tax court did not clearly err in finding that the District used the clinics to improve and run Perham Hospital during the tax years at issue. View "Perham Hospital District v. County of Otter Tail" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirmed the orders of the district court dismissing Appellant's constitutional claims asserting discrimination in the tax assessments of its properties, holding that Appellants' claims were time-barred.Appellant, Walmart, Inc., owned real property in two counties (the Counties). In this action, Walmart claimed that for tax purposes the Counties overvalued the properties or unfairly assessed the properties' value as compared with other similarly situated properties. Appellant asserted that the Counties' international discrimination in their tax assessments violated the Equal Protection Clause and Appellant's right to uniformity in taxation. The district court dismissed the claims as time-barred, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant's claims were subject to the limitations period of Minn. Stat. Ann. Chapter 278 and were time-barred. View "Walmart Inc. v. Winona County" on Justia Law