of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
A. Mills, Greene Espel PLLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
A. Van Cleve, Bryan J. Huntington, Larkin Hoffman Daly &
Lindgren Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondents.
district court must stay a judicial proceeding when it
compels arbitration because Minnesota's Uniform
Arbitration Act does not authorize the court to direct the
entry of judgment after compelling arbitration. See
Minn. Stat. §§ 572B.01-.31 (2016).
City of Rochester (City) sued respondents Franklin P.
Kottschade and S.J.C. Properties (collectively SJC) to stop
arbitration proceedings after SJC demanded arbitration and an
arbitrator determined that the dispute was arbitrable. The
district court denied the City's motion for summary
judgment, granted SJC's motion for summary judgment, and
compelled arbitration. Rather than stay the underlying
action, as required by Minnesota Statutes section 572B.07(f)
(2016), the district court directed the entry of judgment,
and judgment was entered. The City appealed. When the court
of appeals questioned its jurisdiction, the City argued that
the district court's order was a final judgment because
it dismissed, rather than stayed, the underlying proceeding
and, therefore, the court of appeals could review the
district court's order compelling arbitration. The court
of appeals disagreed and dismissed the appeal as taken from a
nonfinal order and judgment. Rochester v.
Kottschade, No. A16-1203, Order (Minn.App. filed Aug.
a final judgment entered as directed by the district court is
generally appealable under Rule 103.03(a) of the Minnesota
Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, we conclude that the
district court erred by directing the entry of that judgment
rather than staying the proceeding as directed by section
572B.07(f). Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeals'
dismissal and we remand to the district court with
instructions to vacate the judgment and to enter a stay
pending the completion of arbitration.
City and SJC have been involved in numerous land disputes. In
2010, the City and SJC entered into a settlement agreement
resolving two separate lawsuits. The agreement contained an
arbitration clause that required the parties to submit
"[a]ny dispute regarding the interpretation of [the]
[a]greement that cannot be resolved" to a specified
mediator "for final binding arbitration."
2015, SJC demanded arbitration with the City regarding two
new parcels of land, claiming that the City had failed to
comply with its obligations under the 2010 settlement
agreement. The City objected to SJC's demand for
arbitration because, it asserted, no interpretation of the
2010 settlement agreement was required. But, the City agreed
to allow the arbitrator to decide the issue of arbitrability.
The arbitrator concluded that the disputes involved the
interpretation of the 2010 settlement agreement and, thus,
were subject to arbitration.
the arbitrator's determination, the City filed a
complaint in Olmsted County District Court, challenging the
arbitrator's determination that the disputes were
arbitrable and moving for a temporary injunction. SJC then
moved for summary judgment to compel arbitration, asking the
district court to dismiss the City's action with
prejudice. The City also moved for summary judgment to
permanently enjoin the arbitration proceedings. The parties
agreed to a temporary stay of arbitration until the court
could hear the parties' motions.
the hearing on the parties' motions, the district court
determined that the parties had an "enforceable
agreement to arbitrate and that the disputes raised fall
within the scope" of the agreement, see
Minnesota Statutes § 572B.06(b) (2016). The court
granted SJC's motion for summary judgment, which had the
effect of requiring the parties to submit the dispute to
arbitration. After the court denied the City's motion, it
ordered the entry of judgment, stating: "LET JUDGMENT BE
ENTERED ACCORDINGLY." The district court administrator
City appealed from the district court's decision, relying
on both Rule 103.03 of the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure
and Minnesota Statutes section 572B.28(a)(6) (2016) as
authority for its appeal. The City argued to the court of
appeals that the district court erred in compelling
arbitration. Although recognizing that an appeal may be taken
from a final judgment under Rule 103.03(a), the court of
appeals questioned its jurisdiction because the Minnesota
Uniform Arbitration Act (the Act), Minn. Stat. §§
572B.01-.31 (2016), "does not authorize entry of
judgment on an order granting a motion to compel
arbitration." Rochester v. Kottschade, No.
A16-1203, Order at 2-3 (Minn.App.). The court of appeals