Justia Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals holding that the City of Waconia's ordinance was subject to the procedural requirements of Minn. Stat. 462.357 for municipal zoning, including notice and a public hearing.After Appellants began building a dock extending from their lakeshore property into the lake the City adopted an ordinance that prohibited the construction of the dock. When the construction was nearly complete the City filed a complaint seeking a permanent injunction under the new ordinance to halt further construction and require the dock's removal. The district court granted summary judgment for the City. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Appellants' appeal was timely; (2) the City's ordinance was subject to the procedural requirements of section 462.357; and (3) because the City failed to comply with the procedural requirements of section 462.357, the ordinance was void, and the permanent injunction against Appellants was also void. View "City of Waconia v. Dock" on Justia Law

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In this landlord-tenant dispute, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's denial of Tenant's claim for treble damages under Minn. Stat. 504B.231, holding that remand was required for the court of appeals to address one remaining issue left unaddressed by its decision.Landlord resorted to self-help measures to remove Tenant from a residential premises. Tenant filed a petition for possession of residential rental property following unlawful removal under Minn. Stat. 504B.375 (the lockout petition) and sought treble damages for ouster under section 504B.231. The district court dismissed the lockout petition, concluding that Tenant was not a "residential tenant" and that Landlord did not act in bad faith. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) to recover treble damages under section 504B.231, tenants must established that their landlord removed them from a residential premises unlawfully and in bad faith; and (2) remand was required for the court of appeals to determined whether Tenant was a tenant under section 504B.231(a). View "Reimringer v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part Defendant's conviction of first-degree premeditated murder, second-degree intentional murder, and being an ineligible person in possession of a firearm, holding that the entry of a conviction for the offense of second-degree intentional murder violated Minn. Stat. 609.04.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in denying two requests for advisory counsel to assume full representation of Defendant's defense because Defendant did not make a valid request; (2) the record supported the district court's finding that Defendant voluntarily waived his right to counsel; and (3) the district court violated section 609.04 when it entered a conviction for the offense of second-degree intentional murder. View "State v. Woods" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's election contest filed under Minn. Stat. 209.021, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiff was not prejudiced by the delay in providing notice of the election contest to the Chief Justice; (2) Plaintiff's claim asserting a violation of her civil rights under the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10101, was not properly asserted on appeal; and (3) the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff's election contest for failure to state a legally sufficient claim upon which relief could be granted. View "Bergstrom v. McEwen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court amending a spousal maintenance award granting in favor of Respondent, Appellant's former wife, holding that the district court abused its discretion in deciding it could not consider the principal of certain cash gifts as an available source of income for spousal maintenance.After almost five years of dissolution-related court proceedings, Appellant moved to eliminate or amend a spousal maintenance award granted in favor of Respondent on the ground that there had been a substantial change of circumstances making the initial award "unreasonable and unfair." The motion stemmed, in part, from two cash gifts given to Appellant by her parents after the divorce totaling $500,000. The district court concluded that the spousal maintenance statute prohibited it from considering the principal of the cash gifts as a financial resource available for Appellant's self-support. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that post-dissolution gifts received by a maintenance recipient are a financial resource a district court may consider under the spousal maintenance statute. View "Honke v. Honke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming Defendant's conviction of theft under a principal theory of criminal liability and of being an indelible person in possession of a firearm, holding that the district court erred when it failed to conduct a Confrontation Clause analysis surrounding the testimonial statement of a nontestifying co-conspirator, but the error was harmless.On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court violated his right to confrontation by admitting his co-conspirator's statements to the police when Defendant had no opportunity to cross-examine his co-conspirator. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court violated Defendant's right to confrontation when it admitted the disputed statements into evidence at trial; but (2) the violation of the Confrontation Clause was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State v. Sutter" 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 finding Defendant guilty of violating a domestic abuse no contact order (DANCO), holding that the State did not violate Defendant's rights under the Minnesota Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA).Defendant made a proper request for a final disposition under the UMDDA, and the State dismissed the charges pending against him. Nearly one year later, the State refiled the charges and brought Defendant to trial. The Supreme Court affirmed the resulting conviction, holding (1) once the State dismissed the pending complaint, Defendant no longer enjoyed a right to disposition of that complaint under the UMDDA; (2) the delay between Defendant's speedy trial request and his trial did not violate his constitutional right to a speedy trial; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to dismiss the State's complaint under Minn. R. Crim. P. 30.02. View "State v. Mikell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) vacating factual findings made by the workers' compensation judge regarding the reasonableness and necessity of an employee's medical treatment for work-related injuries, holding that the WCCA erred.Respondent received a Gillette-style injury to her neck and upper spine. Respondent was later notified by her former employer, Appellant, that it would no longer approve reimbursement for certain injections. A compensation judge determined that the injections were neither necessary nor reasonable. The WCCA reversed, concluding that the decision of the compensation judge was not supported by substantial evidence in the record. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the WCCA erred in (1) vacating the workers' compensation judge's factual findings; and (2) directing the compensation judge to consider whether Respondent's case presented rare circumstances warranting an exception from the treatment parameters. View "Leuthard v. Independent School District 912" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant's conviction of violating Minn. Stat. 260C.425, subd. 1(a), holding that section 260C.425, subd. 1 does not require the State to prove that a child is actually in need of protection or services.Under section 260C.425, subd. 1, it is a gross misdemeanor for a person to encourage, cause, or contribute to the need for protection or services. Defendant was convicted under the statute after he sent a note to a ten-year-old girl telling her to meet him at the railroad tracks. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that that the evidence was insufficient to prove that the girl was actually in need of protection or services. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in concluding that the State must prove that actual services were needed. View "State v. Boss" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for exposing her child, T.D., to methamphetamine, holding that the State's evidence was sufficient to prove that T.D. was subjected to a risk of harm from methamphetamine.While conducting a search of a home, police found a small purse containing methamphetamine beyond a mattress upon which Defendant's child slept. The State charged Defendant with a violation of Minn. Stat. 152.137 subd. 2(d) for "exposing" her child to methamphetamine. The jury found Defendant guilty. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the jury could reasonably have concluded that Defendant subjected her child to risk of harm from the methamphetamine in the purse. View "State v. Friese" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law