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Johnson v. Commissioner of Public Safety

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

December 27, 2016

Roger Allen Johnson, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
Commissioner of Public Safety, Respondent.

         McLeod County District Court File No. 43-CV-15-921

          Reversed and remanded

          Samuel J. Edmunds, Sieben Edmunds PLLC, Mendota Heights, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Cory Beth Monnens, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Considered and decided by Johnson, Presiding Judge; Hooten, Judge; and Smith, Tracy M., Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         To find that the 30-day limitations period to petition for judicial review of a driver's license revocation has begun to run under Minn. Stat. § 169A.53, subd. 2(a), the district court must find that the driver received a notice and order of revocation, and the record is insufficient to support such a finding when it lacks evidence that the driver received a complete notice and order of revocation by document or other means.

          OPINION

          SMITH, TRACY M., Judge

         Appellant Roger Allen Johnson challenges the district court's dismissal of his implied-consent petition for judicial review of the revocation of his driver's license. The district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction because Johnson's petition failed to meet the statute of limitations under Minn. Stat. § 169A.53, subd. 2(a) (2014), which requires that a petition be brought within 30 days following receipt of a notice and order of revocation. Johnson argues that the district court erred in concluding that the statute of limitations had run based on a finding that the officer properly served notice on the night of the driving incident, without finding that Johnson received a notice and order of revocation. Because we agree that the district court applied the wrong legal standard, and because the evidence would not support a finding that Johnson received a notice and order of revocation on the relevant date, we reverse and remand.

         FACTS

         Johnson was arrested on April 23, 2015, on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Hutchinson police officer Greg Nadeau took Johnson to the police department and asked him to take a blood or urine test for alcohol concentration. Johnson did not submit to a test. The officer told Johnson his license would be revoked and asked Johnson to sign an electronic copy of a notice and order of revocation on a computer. Johnson refused to provide an electronic signature. The officer left the room to retrieve a copy of the notice and order of revocation and other paperwork from a printer. When the officer returned to the room where Johnson was waiting, "Johnson was having a medical episode, " lying "on the floor, screaming" and complaining of stomach pain. The officer asked dispatch to send an ambulance.

         The officer did not hand Johnson the notice and order of revocation "because [Johnson] wasn't responding on the floor." The officer testified that he "believe[s]" he placed the notice and order of revocation with Johnson's personal belongings and gave them to paramedics to be brought to the hospital with Johnson. The officer testified that he "can't remember exactly what happened with the paperwork" and was "not 100 percent" certain that it was delivered to the hospital with Johnson's personal belongings. But the officer testified that if the notice had been left behind, someone at the police department would have mailed it to Johnson. The officer did not believe there was a police officer with Johnson when he was released from the hospital and did not know if anyone ever gave Johnson the paperwork.

         Johnson testified that no one gave him any paperwork regarding his driver's license and that he did not find any papers with his personal belongings at the hospital. Johnson testified that he believed he was allowed to drive after April 23 and that he first found out his license was revoked when he received a letter from the state sometime during the next month.

         Johnson filed a petition for judicial review of the revocation on June 22, alleging many procedural and substantive defects, including lack of notice. The commissioner of public safety moved to dismiss Johnson's petition, arguing that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the matter because Johnson did not file the petition within 30 days after receipt of a notice and order of revocation, as required by Minn. Stat. § 169A.53, subd. 2(a). If Johnson received the notice ...


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