Justia Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

By
Defendant was convicted of a petty misdemeanor for violating Lester Prairie Municipal Code section 5.5.1.2, which prohibits certain blight conditions on residents’ property, including the open storage of unregistered or inoperative motor vehicles. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the ordinance was ambiguous and resolving the ambiguity in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the unambiguous language of the ordinance prohibits a person from keeping a junked or abandoned vehicle or other scrap metal on her property for longer than thirty days without a special use permit; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to prove that Defendant violated the ordinance by keeping an abandoned vehicle on her property for longer than thirty days without a special use permit. View "State v. Vasko" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
American Family Insurance Company (American Family) issued automobile insurance policies to policyholders that were later injured in automobile accidents. The policy contained an anti-assignment clause, but, in order to obtain medical treatment, the policyholders assigned their interests in basic economic loss benefits to their medical provider, Stand Up Multipositional Advantage MRI, P.A. (Stand Up). Stand Up filed suit against the policyholders, their attorneys, and American Family for failing to make payment directly to Stand Up in accordance with the assignments. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, concluding that the anti-assignment clause was unenforceable, and therefore, the assignments to Stand Up were valid. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the anti-assignment clause was valid and precluded the assignments the policyholders made to Stand Up. View "Stand Up Multipositional Advantage MRI, P.A. v. American Family Insurance Co." on Justia Law

By
John David Emerson was arrested and charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Upon Emerson’s motion, the district court issued an order restraining the Dakota County Sheriff from collecting Emerson’s DNA for law enforcement identification purposes. The Sheriff filed a petition for a writ of prohibition asking the court of appeals to prohibit the district court from enforcing its order against the Sheriff, arguing that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear and decide Emerson’s motion. The court of appeals denied the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court had subject matter jurisdiction but exceeded its lawful authority when it used the wrong procedure to address Emerson’s constitutional challenge the DNA-collection statute; and (2) the Sheriff met all three elements for a writ of prohibition. View "In re Leslie, Dakota County Sheriff" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and other crimes. The district court sentenced Appellant to consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release for the murder and attempted murder convictions. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding that the district court did not err when it (1) excluded evidence that Defendant claimed was relevant to an element of his self-defense claim; (2) denied Defendant’s request for a third-degree murder instruction; and (3) denied Defendant’s pretrial motion to dismiss the first-degree murder charge. View "State v. Zumberge" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
Employee’s employment was terminated after Employer discovered that the representation Employee made in her employment application was not accurate. Employee applied for unemployment benefits with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). DEED concluded that Employee was eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Employer appealed. An unemployment law judge determined that Employee was ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was discharged for “employment misconduct” under Minn. Stat. 268.095. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Employee’s conduct did not constitute employment misconduct. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that (1) the court of appeals applied an improper definition of “employment misconduct”; and (2) under the facts and circumstances of this case, Employee was terminated for “employment misconduct” as defined in section 268.095. View "Wilson v. Condon" on Justia Law

By
After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of first-degree murder while committing a felony involving the unlawful sale of a controlled substance. The district court sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of release after serving a minimum of thirty years in prison. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction on direct appeal. This appeal concerned Appellant’s second petition for postconviction relief, in which he argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction. The postconviction court summarily denied Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s postconviction petition without holding an evidentiary hearing. View "Gail v. State" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
After declaring his write-in candidacy for President of the United States for the 2016 general election, Steve Carlson filed a request with the Secretary of State asking him to count the votes cast for his candidacy. The Secretary of State refused to accept the request because Carlson did not “include the name of a candidate for vice-president of the United States” with the request pursuant to Minn. Stat. 204B.09, subdivision 3(b). Carlson then filed this petition with the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct the Secretary of State to accept his request because requiring him to name a vice-presidential candidate burdens the First Amendment associational rights of write-in candidates and the voters who support those candidates. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that the requirement for write-in candidates to designate a vice-presidential candidate does not violate the associational rights protected by the First Amendment. View "Carlson v. Simon" on Justia Law

By
Petitioner filed a petition pursuant to Minn. Stat. 204B.44 requesting an order directing the Minnesota Secretary of State (Respondent) to remove the name of Robert Barrett from the ballot for State Representative for Legislative District 32B at the general election held in November 2016, alleging that Barrett did not reside in the district for the six months immediately preceding the 2016 general election. The referee to whom the matter was referred found that the evidence supported removing Barrett’s name from the ballot. The Supreme Court granted the petition to the extent it sought an order declaring that Barrett was ineligible to hold the office he sought but denied the petition to the extent it sought an order declaring that Barrett’s name be removed from the 2016 general election ballot for the same office, as Minnesota does does not provide for the removal of a candidate’s name from the ballot under the circumstances of this case. View "Monaghen v. Simon" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated:

By
The Mandels owned a home that, in 2011, was damaged by rainwater. Based on an post-casualty appraisal, the Mandels deducted $82,247 from their income reflected on their 2011 federal tax return. This deduction also affected the Mandels’ Minnesota taxable income. Following an audit, the Commissioner of Revenue disallowed much of the Mandels’ casualty-loss deduction by reducing the allowable tax deduction to the amount of the cost of the repairs the Mandels actually made to their home. The Mandels appealed. The tax court granted summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the tax court did not err in determining that the Mandels’ post-casualty appraisal was not “competent” and did not err in granting the Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment. View "Mandel v. Commissioner of Revenue" on Justia Law

By
After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder. The district court imposed three concurrent life sentences. Fifteen years after the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and the denial of his first postconviction motion, Defendant filed this fourth petition for postconviction relief, alleging that a confession witness recanted her testimony that Defendant confessed to the murder. The postconviction court summarily denied relief, holding that Defendant’s petition was untimely and that Defendant’s previously raised recantation claims were procedurally barred under State. v. Knaffla. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Defendant’s petition was untimely and that his previously raised claims were Knaffla-barred. View "Hooper v. State" on Justia Law
By
Posted in:
Updated: