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Cederberg v. City of Inver Grove Heights

September 21, 2004

ALLAN G. CEDERBERG, APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, RESPONDENT.



Dakota County District Court File No. C8-03-8570.

Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. A document is filed with the district court when it is delivered to or received by the office where it is required to be filed, even though the document may not be stamped "filed" until sometime later.

2. Joinder of additional property owners as parties in an assessment appeal concerning benefits and damages is generally inappropriate because each appeal necessarily involves different facts relevant only to an individual piece of property.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Klaphake, Judge

Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded

OPINION

Pro se appellant Allan G. Cederberg challenges the district court's dismissal of his appeal from a special assessment imposed on his residential property by respondent City of Inver Grove Heights (the city). The district court dismissed the appeal as untimely after determining that appellant failed to comply with the mandatory jurisdictional requirements of Minn. Stat. § 429.081 (2002). The court also determined that appellant's attempt to join additional affected property owners was improper and invalid.

Because the district court timely received the appeal papers on June 9, 2003, even though the papers were not stamped "filed" until June 24, 2003, we conclude that the district court erred in dismissing the appeal. Because appellant's attempt to join additional affected property owners was improper under Minn. R. Civ. P. 20.01, we conclude that the district court did not err in dismissing these additional parties. We therefore affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand to consider whether the city acted unlawfully by imposing a special assessment that exceeds the benefit to appellant's property.

FACTS

In December 2002, the city council adopted a resolution ordering certain improvements to 82nd Street that included grading, gravel base, drainage culverts, bituminous surfacing, and related appurtenances. The improvements were to be funded by special assessments to be paid by all affected property owners, including appellant. In April 2003, appellant and four other property owners submitted their objections to the proposed project.

Proper notice was sent to all affected property owners, including appellant, for a May 12, 2003 hearing. Notice also was published. The notices stated:

An owner may appeal an assessment to the District Court pursuant to Minnesota Statute, Section 429.081, by serving notice of the appeal upon the Mayor or the Clerk of the City within thirty (30) days after the adoption of the assessment and filing such notice with the District Court within ten (10) days after service upon the Mayor or the Clerk.

At the assessment hearing, the assessments were approved and adopted by the city council. On May 15, appellant was provided with a ...


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