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Simonson v. Third Judicial District

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 23, 2013

Matthew Simonson, Appellant,
v.
Third Judicial District, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Mower County District Court File No. 50-CV-12-1764.

Matthew Simonson, Austin, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, John S. Garry, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Larkin, Judge; and Chutich, Judge.

CHUTICH, Judge

Appellant Matthew Simonson challenges the dismissal of his Minnesota Human Rights Act claim against the Third Judicial District. Because Simonson did not properly serve the attorney general's office before the statute of limitations ran on his claim, we affirm.

FACTS

The events underlying this appeal began in 2009 when appellant Matthew Simonson filed a replevin action against the City of Austin in Mower County District Court, seeking return of two cars removed from his property. A motion hearing was held on March 31, 2010. Simonson alleges that he is hearing-impaired and that he did not understand the proceedings because he was not given a functioning assisted-listening device.

In May 2010, the district court granted summary judgment on the replevin case in favor of the City of Austin. Simonson appealed to this court, but the appeal was dismissed for procedural defects.

Simonson then filed a charge with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (department), alleging that the Third Judicial District violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act at the March 31, 2010 hearing. In particular, Simonson claimed that the sound system in the courtroom did not allow him to hear what was happening during the hearing.

After reviewing the transcript of the March 31 hearing, the department dismissed the charge. The department found that the transcript showed that the district court took precautions at the hearing to make sure that Simonson could fully participate. At the beginning of the hearing, the district court asked Simonson if he could hear what the district court was saying and instructed Simonson to raise his hand at any time if he could not hear. Simonson never raised his arm or stated during the hearing that he could not hear. Accordingly, the department determined that there was no probable cause for Simonson's allegations that the Third Judicial District violated his rights under the human rights act.

Upon appeal, the commissioner of human rights affirmed the department's determination of no probable cause for the human rights act charge. By order dated May 3, 2012, the commissioner properly notified Simonson that he had 45 days to file a human rights act claim in state district court against the Third Judicial District.

On June 15, 2012, Simonson filed the instant action under the human rights act against the Third Judicial District, asking for another hearing on his replevin claim. Simonson did not serve his complaint or a summons ...


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