St. Louis County District Court File No. 69-C2-04-603151.
1. If a previous owner of a severed mineral interest has filed a verified statement required by Minn. Stat. § 93.52, subd. 2 (2004), a subsequent owner who acquires the interest is not required to file a verified statement within one year after acquiring the interest to avoid forfeiture of the interest under Minn. Stat. § 93.55, subd. 1 (2004).
2. Under Minn. Stat. § 93.52, subd. 2, a verified statement of severed mineral interest filed by an owner that acquired the interest after it was created must set forth the book and page number or the document number of the instrument by which the interest was created or the book and page number or the document number of the instrument by which the interest was acquired.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Peterson, Judge
Affirmed in part and remanded in part.
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Klaphake, Judge; and Peterson, Judge.
In this appeal from a judgment, appellant State of Minnesota contends that the district court erred in concluding that respondents demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that they are the owners of the severed mineral interests in a 40-acre parcel of land and that the statutory requirements for filing verified statements regarding the severed mineral interests were met. We affirm in part and remand in part.
To understand the facts relevant to the issues raised in this action, it is helpful to first understand the legal context in which the action arose. A method for identifying the owners of severed mineral interests*fn1 in Minnesota is provided by Minn. Stat. §§ 93.52 - .58 (2004). The purpose of the statute is to identify and clarify the obscure and divided ownership condition of severed mineral interests in this state. Because the ownership condition of many severed mineral interests is becoming more obscure and further fractionalized with the passage of time, the development of mineral interests in this state is often impaired. Therefore, it is in the public interest and serves a public purpose to identify and clarify these interests.
Minn. Stat. § 93.52, subd. 1.
To accomplish this purpose, the statute provides that beginning January 1, 1970, every owner of a fee-simple interest in minerals that is owned separately from the surface of the property shall file for record in the county recorder office or the registrar of titles office in the county where the mineral interest is located a verified statement citing sections 93.52 to 93.58 and setting forth the owner's address, interest in the minerals, and both (1) the legal description of the property upon or beneath which the interest exists, and (2) the book and page number or the document number, in the records of the county recorder or registrar of titles, of the instrument by which the mineral interest is created or acquired.[*fn2 ]
Minn. Stat. § 93.52, subd. 2.
If the owner fails to file the verified statement before January 1, 1975, as to any interests owned on or before December 31, 1973, or within one year after acquiring such interests as to interests acquired after December 31, 1973, and not previously filed under section 93.52, the mineral interest shall forfeit to the state after notice and opportunity for hearing as provided in this section.
Minn. Stat. § 93.55, subd. 1.
Respondents commenced an action to determine adverse claims seeking a judgment determining them to be the owners, in undivided fractions, of the severed mineral interests in a 40-acre parcel of land in St. Louis County. The parties agree that as of February 20, 1912, the mineral interests in the land were owned by Henry F. Brown (1/2); Sarah P. Gale (7/36ths); Alfred F. Pillsbury (7/36ths); and John P. Snyder, Sr. (1/9th). Respondents contend that they are the current successors of these owners and ...