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Briles v. Terrain

Supreme Court of Minnesota

February 14, 2018

Russell Eldon Briles, Respondent/Cross-Appellant,
v.
GMC Terrain, MN License Number 168 KSE, VIN: 2GKFLZE3XD, Appellant/Cross-Respondent.

         Office of Appellate Courts

          James M. Ventura, Wayzata, Minnesota, for respondent/cross-appellant.

          Ronald Hocevar, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, First Assistant County Attorney, Shakopee, Minnesota, for appellant/cross-respondent.

          Mahesha P. Subbaraman, Subbaraman PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Americans for Forfeiture Reform.

          Daniel J. Koewler, Ramsay Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Roseville, Minnesota for amicus curiae Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

         SYLLABUS

         1. A complaint for judicial determination of a forfeiture under Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 8 (2016) is time-barred if it is filed more than 60 days after receipt of the notice the statute requires.

         2. Because insurance proceeds payable as a result of damage to a forfeited vehicle are not a part of all "right, title, and interest" in the vehicle under Minn. Stat. § 169A.63 (2016), that statute does not authorize the forfeiture of insurance proceeds.

         Affirmed.

          OPINION

          GILDEA, Chief Justice.

         This case asks us to interpret the vehicle forfeiture statute, Minnesota Statutes § 169A.63 (2016). Respondent Russell Briles brought a complaint under Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 8(e), challenging the forfeiture of his vehicle and the insurance proceeds payable to him under an insurance policy covering property damage to the vehicle. The district court dismissed the complaint because Briles filed it more than 60 days after he received the notice section 169A.63 requires. The court of appeals affirmed the district court's conclusion that Briles filed his complaint too late, but reversed the district court's conclusion that the insurance proceeds were subject to forfeiture under section 169A.63. Because we conclude that Briles's complaint is time barred, but that insurance payments are not subject to forfeiture under section 169A.63, we affirm the court of appeals.

         FACTS

         Russell Briles owned a 2013 GMC Terrain, which was driven by his son and heavily damaged in a single-vehicle accident. The City of Savage police arrested Briles's son for driving under the influence of alcohol as a result of the accident and seized the vehicle. On September 25, 2015, the police department served Briles with a timely notice of the seizure and the intention to seek forfeiture of the vehicle, as required by Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 8. The notice described Briles's rights under the statute and informed Briles that if he did not file a complaint for judicial determination of the forfeiture within 60 days, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 8(e), he would lose the vehicle "automatically." Id., subd. 8(c). Briles did not file a complaint within 60 days.

         Also on September 25, the Scott County Attorney sent a letter to Briles's insurer, notifying the carrier of the forfeiture. The letter asserted a right to any insurance proceeds for the vehicle and asked the insurer to delay the disbursement of those proceeds until the forfeiture was completed. Briles was not provided a copy of the letter and the County did not otherwise notify him of the County's intention to seek forfeiture of the insurance proceeds. Briles did not learn of the letter to his insurance company until sometime in December, after the 60-day deadline in Minn. Stat. § 169A83, subd. 8(e) had passed. When he learned of the letter, ...


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