Quantcast
Home / Bar Buzz / Supreme Court Calendar: October 2019
The Supreme Court Chamber in the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)
The Supreme Court Chamber in the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

Supreme Court Calendar: October 2019

The following summaries of upcoming Supreme Court arguments for October 2019 were prepared from information provided by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office.

Monday, Sept. 30, 2019

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

State of Minnesota, Appellant vs. Jennifer Ann Culver, Respondent – Case No. A17-1968: Appellant State of Minnesota filed a criminal complaint against respondent Jennifer Ann Culver, alleging that she violated Minn. Stat. § 609.26, subd. 1(3) (2018), which makes it a felony when a person intentionally does any of the following acts: “takes, obtains, retains, or fails to return a minor child from or to the parent in violation of a court order, where the action manifests an intent substantially to deprive that parent of rights to parenting time or custody.” A jury found Culver guilty as charged. The Court of Appeals reversed her conviction, concluding there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction because the circumstances proved supported a reasonable hypothesis that she “did not intend substantial deprivation.”

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the court of appeals erred when it concluded there was insufficient evidence to support Culver’s conviction. (Ramsey County)

Galen T. Block, Relator vs. Exterior Remodelers Inc., and RTW Group, Respondents – Case No. A19-0584: In 1992, relator Galen T. Block settled a claim for a work-related injury. Twenty-four years later, in 2016, the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) granted Block’s petition to vacate the 1992 settlement. The WCCA concluded that there was no mutual mistake of fact that required vacating the settlement, but the substantial change in Block’s condition warranted doing so. Respondents Exterior Remodelers, Inc. and RTW Group claimed that they were entitled to a credit for the previously paid settlement, arguing that Minn. Stat. § 176.179 (1988), did not apply to payments that were not made under a mistake of fact or law. The compensation judge concluded that respondents were entitled to a 100 percent credit for the previously paid settlement, and the WCCA affirmed.

On appeal to the supreme court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether Minn. Stat. § 176.179 applies to payments made by insurers pursuant to stipulations that are later vacated, (2) whether the payment in this case is “mistaken compensation” as that term is used in Minn. Stat. § 176.179, and (3) whether the compensation judge erred by awarding a 100 percent credit for the previously paid settlement. (Workers Compensation Court of Appeals).

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

Graco Inc., Appellant vs. City of Minneapolis, Respondent – Case No. A18-0593: Minneapolis passed an ordinance that establishes minimum-wage requirements for employees who perform work in the city. The ordinance has different wage standards depending on the employer’s size, which is calculated by an average number of persons working for the employer in a calendar year. Employees who are based outside of the city but perform work in the city on an occasional basis are entitled to the minimum wage if the employee works at least 2 hours in the city.

Appellant Graco Inc. challenged the ordinance in district court, asserting that the minimum-wage ordinance conflicts with and is preempted by implication by state law, specifically the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, Minn. Stat. ch. 177 (2018). Following a period of discovery, a court trial was held. The District Court denied Graco’s claims for relief, concluding that the ordinance is in harmony with and complementary to state law, because state law does not establish a ceiling for minimum wage rates, and there was no legislative intent to preclude local regulation of minimum wages. Graco appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the lower courts erred in determining that the Minneapolis minimum-wage ordinance does not conflict with state law. (Hennepin County)

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, et al., Appellants vs. City of Minneapolis, Respondent – Case No. A18-0771: A Minneapolis ordinance establishes minimum requirements for “sick and safe time” for employees who perform work in the City, requiring employers whose employees perform work within the geographic boundaries of the city for at least eighty (80) hours in a year to provide those employees with one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Leave may be taken for the employee’s or family member’s identified needs. In March 2018, the ordinance was amended to clarify that sick/safe time is accrued only for time worked within the geographic boundaries of the city.

Appellants—the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, two employers, and two employment agencies—challenged the ordinance, asserting that the ordinance’s leave requirements are preempted by state law and that the ordinance has an impermissible extraterritorial impact. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court first concluded that field preemption did not preclude enforcement of the ordinance under Mangold Midwest Co. v. Village of Richfield, 143 N.W.2d 813 (Minn. 1966). Then, the District Court concluded that notwithstanding the 2018 amendment to the ordinance, the ordinance remained too broad, and thus the city was enjoined from enforcing it against any employers that reside outside the geographic boundaries of the city. The city appealed from the decision on the geographic reach of the ordinance, and the chamber filed a related appeal on the preemption issue. The Court of Appeals affirmed on the preemption issue and reversed on the geographic-reach issue.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the following issues are presented: (1) by imposing specific leave obligations on employers, does the city’s ordinance conflict with state law, and (2) does the city’s leave ordinance impermissibly extend beyond the city’s borders. (Hennepin County)

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

Avis Budget Car Rental LLC, Relator vs. County of Hennepin, Respondent – Case No. A19-0886, and Enterprise Leasing Co. of Minnesota, Relator vs. County of Hennepin, Respondent – Case No. A19-0889:

These cases present the same issues and have been consolidated for oral argument.

Relator Avis Budget Car Rental LLC and relator Enterprise Leasing Co. of Minnesota have each entered into an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) that allows them to provide car-rental services at the airport; they also rent space from MAC for those operations. In their challenges to the county’s tax assessment on the leasehold interest, see Minn. Stat. § 272.01, subd. 2 (2018), relators did not disclose financial information on the concession fee paid to MAC because, they asserted, the fee is not rent, it is an access payment. In separate cases, the tax court dismissed relators’ petitions, concluding that the concession fee was rent within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 278.05, subd. 6 (2018), and MAC’s disclosure of that information to respondent Hennepin County did not satisfy relators’ obligations under the statute.

On appeal to the supreme court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether the tax court erred when it concluded the concession fee was rent, (2) whether the tax court misconstrued the record when it found no evidence that MAC disclosed the financial information to Hennepin County, and (3) whether the Tax Court erred when it held that notwithstanding Hennepin County’s undisputed possession of all financial information it deemed necessary to make its assessment, only relators could provide this information to the county assessor. (Minnesota Tax Court)

Nonoral: Leonard Goodloe, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A19-0438: Following a jury trial, appellant Leonard Goodloe was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Twelve years later, Goodloe filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief, alleging the district court committed reversible error in its jury instructions. The District Court summarily denied the petition. In its order, the District Court concluded the petition was untimely and procedurally barred. The District Court also observed that on direct appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court had held that the District Court did not err in instructing the jury using the pattern instruction.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the District Court erred when it summarily denied Goodloe’s postconviction petition. (Hennepin County)

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol Building, Second Floor

State of Minnesota, Respondent/Cross-Appellant vs. James Wilmar Poehler, Appellant/Cross-Respondent – Case No. A18-0353: In 2016, appellant/cross-respondent James Poehler was charged with third-degree driving while impaired after a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop of his vehicle for a cracked windshield violation under Minn. Stat. § 169.71, subd. 1 (2018), and a seatbelt violation under Minn. Stat. § 169.686, subd. 1(a) (2018). Poehler filed a motion to suppress the evidence of his impairment, arguing the stop of his vehicle was unlawful. The District Court denied the suppression motion, finding that the stop was lawful based on the cracked windshield. Poehler was convicted following a stipulated-facts court trial.

The Court of Appeals affirmed Poehler’s conviction. It disagreed with the District Court that the officer conducted a lawful traffic stop based on a cracked windshield because there was no evidence in the record that the crack in the windshield limited or obstructed Poehler’s vision. However, the Court of Appeals upheld the traffic stop based on the seatbelt violation.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the law enforcement officer had a lawful basis to conduct a traffic stop of Poehler’s vehicle. (Isanti County)

Nonoral: Inland Edinburgh Festival LLC, Relator vs. County of Hennepin, Respondent – Case No. A19-0567: Relator Inland Festival LLC owns property in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. In its 2015 property tax assessment, respondent Hennepin County valued the property at $8.3 million. Inland presented expert testimony that the correct value was $7.1 million. The tax court concluded that the 2015 assessed value should be $8.4 million.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether the Tax Court erred by relying solely on a single sale that occurred more than two years after the assessment date, (2) whether the Tax Court erred in making adjustments to the sale of Inland’s property that are unsupported by the evidence in the record, (3) whether the Tax Court erred in failing to give any weight to the income approach, and (4) whether the taxpayer received a hearing before an impartial and neutral judge. (Minnesota Tax Court)

Monday, Oct. 7, 2019

Courtroom 300, Minnesota Judicial Center

Nonoral: Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (Plymouth), Relator v. County of Hennepin, Respondent – Case No. A19-0428: Relator Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (Plymouth) owns property in Plymouth, Minnesota. In its 2015 property tax assessment, respondent Hennepin County valued the property at $11.7 million. Lowe’s presented expert testimony that the correct value was $5.3 million. The tax court concluded that the 2015 assessed value should be $10.5 million.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether the Tax Court violated Minn. Stat. § 273.11, subd. 1 (2018), by relying primarily on the cost approach over the market approach to valuation, (2) whether the Tax Court applied erroneous and inconsistent adjustments and valuation components that lack support in the record, and (3) whether the Tax Court violated Lowe’s right to due process by adopting value components that lack support in the expert testimony or the record. (Minnesota Tax Court)

Nonoral: Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, Relator vs. County of Washington, Respondent – Case Nos. A19-0419 and A19-0424: Relator Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed three separate property-tax petitions challenging the real-estate assessments of respondent Washington County. Respondent moved to dismiss the petitions arguing the real estate was income-producing property and, therefore, relator was required to comply with the mandatory disclosure requirements of Minn. Stat. § 278.05, subd. 6 (2018) (the “60-day rule”). The Minnesota Tax Court dismissed the petitions, concluding that the real estate was income-producing property and that relator failed to comply with the disclosures required by the 60-day rule.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the following issues are presented: (1) whether the real estate is income-producing property, and (2) whether relator complied with the 60-day rule. (Minnesota Tax Court)

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

Courtroom 300, Minnesota Judicial Center

Amanda Grace Visser, Appellant vs. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Respondent – Case No. A18-1204: Appellant Amanda Grace Visser was driving a 2000 Pontiac that was owned by her mother when the driver of an underinsured truck failed to obey a stop sign. Visser claims she sustained more than $150,000 in damages in connection with the resulting accident. The insurance policy for the driver’s truck provided only $50,000 in liability coverage. Visser’s mother had insurance coverage on two vehicles through respondent State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company: the 2000 Pontiac that Visser was driving and a 1998 Chevrolet. The Pontiac policy provided underinsured motorist benefits with an upper limit of $100,000 per person; the Chevrolet policy provided UIM benefits with an upper limit of $250,000 per person. State Farm paid Visser $100,000 in UIM benefits under the Pontiac policy.

Visser filed this declaratory judgment action against State Farm, claiming she was entitled to additional UIM benefits under the Chevrolet policy. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the District Court granted summary judgment to State Farm. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s decision.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether Visser is entitled to additional UIM benefits under the Chevrolet policy. (Hennepin County)

Nonoral: Neal Curtis Zumberge, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A19-0593: Following a jury trial, appellant Neal Curtis Zumberge was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed his conviction on direct appeal. Zumberge subsequently filed a pro se petition for postconviction relief. In his supporting memorandum, he raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and judicial error. The District Court summarily denied the petition.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the district court erred when it summarily denied Zumberge’s postconviction petition. (Ramsey County)

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019

Fairmont Junior Senior High School, Fairmont, Minnesota

State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Savonte Maurice Townsend, Appellant – Case No. A18-0792: In 2017, Savonte Townsend was charged with simple robbery under Minn. Stat. § 609.24 (2018). An employee at a liquor store reported to law enforcement that Townsend concealed bottles of liquor in her bag and attempted to leave the store, but when she was confronted by the employee, a physical altercation ensued and Townsend relinquished the bottles of liquor. The case proceeded to a court trial and the District Court found Townsend guilty. The Court of Appeals affirmed Townsend’s conviction, concluding that the phrase “carrying away” in the simple-robbery statute means the act of moving personal property from the location of the taking.

On appeal to the Supreme Court, the issue presented is whether the Court of Appeals correctly interpreted the language of the simple-robbery statute. (Hennepin County)

Like this article? Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscription. Start your subscription for as little as $32. 

Leave a Reply