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Supreme Court Digest: May 13, 2020

Minnesota Lawyer//May 14, 2020

Supreme Court Digest: May 13, 2020

Minnesota Lawyer//May 14, 2020

Civil

Lakes

Agency Authority

The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources issued an order changing the official name of a well-known Minneapolis lake from Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska. The Commissioner invoked his authority under Minnesota Statutes § 83A.02 (1), (3) to do so. Another statute within chapter 83A prohibits changing a body of water’s name “which has existed for 40 years.”  Respondent contended that, based on the 40-year limitation in Minn. Stat § 83A.05, the name change was beyond the Commissioner’s authority under § 83A.02, and that the courts should so rule by issuing a writ of quo warranto. The Commissioner responded that the writ was not available or should be abolished, and that, in any event, the 40-year limitation did not apply to the Commissioner’s statutory authority to change the name of the lake.

The Supreme Court held that (1) a petition for a writ of quo warranto is an appropriate method to challenge the authority of the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to issue an order changing the name of a lake; and (2) the Commissioner had authority under Minn. Stat. § 83A.02 (1), (3) to issue an order changing the name of a lake. That authority is not limited by Minn. Stat. § 83A.05, subd. 1, which prohibits a county board from changing a lake name “which has existed for 40 years.”  Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

A18-1007 Save Lake Calhoun v. Strommen (Court of Appeals)

Criminal

Searches

Expectation of Privacy

The State charged appellant with check forgery based on evidence that law enforcement officers discovered in his hotel room. Appellant moved to suppress the State’s evidence. He argued, among other things, that the officers violated Minn. Const. Art. I, § 10, when they examined the hotel guest registry, which led them to his room, without the officers having any individualized suspicion of criminal activity. The District Court denied his motion and later convicted appellant of check forgery. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Supreme Court held that (1) an examination of a hotel guest registry conducted by law enforcement officers is a search within the meaning of Minn. Const. Art. I, § 10, because an individual’s presence at a hotel is sensitive information in which there is an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable; (2) under Minn. Const. Art. I, § 10, law enforcement officers must have at least a reasonable, articulable suspicion to search a hotel guest registry; (3) Minn. St. §§ 327.10–.13 are constitutionally valid under Minn. Const. Art. I, § 10, because the statutory phrases “shall be open” and “always accessible” do not authorize law enforcement to conduct suspicionless searches of hotel guest registries; and (4) the District Court erred when it denied appellant’s suppression motion because the evidence found in appellant’s hotel room was the fruit of the officers’ suspicionless search of the hotel guest registry. Reversed and remanded.

A17-2061 State v. Leonard (Court of Appeals)

Orders

Attorney Discipline

Reinstatement

Richard C. Mollin, Jr., was conditionally reinstated to the practice of law.

A19-0268 In re Mollin

 

Attorney Discipline

Suspension

Ana Lisa Garza Peña was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.

A19-1689 In re Garza Peña

 

Attorney Discipline

Suspension

Todd Curtis Pearson was indefinitely suspended from the practice of law.

A18-1932 In re Pearson

 

Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
Review

The decision of the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals in this matter was affirmed without opinion.

A19-1870 Jaafaru v. Cerenity Senior Care

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