Court Office of Appellate Courts
Nord Hunt, Michael R. Moline, Lommen Abdo, P.A., Minneapolis,
Minnesota, for respondents.
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Jane N.B.
Holzer, Rebecca Holschuh, Assistant County Attorneys,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for relator.
determining whether a petitioning taxpayer has produced
evidence sufficient to overcome the statutory presumption
that a property tax assessment is valid, the tax court may
consider only the evidence presented by the taxpayer.
tax court did not abuse its discretion in denying the
County's motion to dismiss by holding, in the
alternative, that the evidence presented by the taxpayer
overcame the statutory presumption.
Court Park Company and Camir II, LLC ("the
taxpayer") contested relator Hennepin County's
("the County") assessment of the fair market value
of the taxpayer's parking ramp. At the close of the
taxpayer's case-in-chief, the County moved to dismiss.
The tax court deferred ruling on the County's motion.
After both parties' cases were fully presented, the tax
court denied the County's motion, basing its decision on
evidence presented in the County's case. On certiorari,
we are asked to determine on what evidence the tax court may
rely in deciding whether the taxpayer has overcome the
presumptive validity of the County's assessment. Because
the relevant law permits only the taxpayer's evidence to
be considered, we conclude that the tax court erred in
considering the County's evidence to decide the motion.
Nevertheless, because the tax court did not abuse its
discretion by holding in the alternative that the
taxpayer's evidence overcame the presumptive validity of
the assessment, we affirm.
case is about the fair market value of a parking ramp located
next to Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown
Minneapolis. In 2014, the County assessed the parking
ramp's value at $8, 429, 800. In 2015, it assessed the
value at $9, 323, 200. The taxpayer appealed both assessments
to the tax court.
trial, the tax court received into evidence an appraisal
report and testimony from the taxpayer's expert, Daniel
Boris. Appraiser Boris opined that the value of the parking
ramp was $5, 775, 000 in 2014 and $6, 000, 000 in 2015.
close of the taxpayer's case, the County moved to dismiss
under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 41.02,  arguing that the
taxpayer had "failed to overcome the prima facie
validity of the assessment." The parties agreed that a
decision on the County's motion should be decided
post-trial, and thus, the trial continued, with the presiding
judge taking testimony "subject to the County's
County then called Brian Kieser, the chief appraiser for the
City of Minneapolis Assessor's Office, to testify. He
opined that the value of the parking ramp was $8, 000, 000 in
2014 and $8, 900, 000 in 2015. Notably, these values were
each approximately $400, 000 less than the County's
assessment. Kieser's appraisal report was admitted into
court issued a combined order that (1) denied the
County's motion to dismiss, (2) determined the market
value of the parking ramp as of 2014 and 2015, and (3)
ordered a judgment in favor of the taxpayer. The court denied
the County's motion "because when viewing all of the
evidence, and thereby considering the County's appraisal
report, there is substantial evidence that the market value
of the subject property was less than its assessed
value." Court Park Co. v. County of Hennepin,
27-CV-15-07133, 2017 WL 1750326, at *4 (Minn. T.C. May 3,
2017). In a footnote, the court provided an alternative
ground for denying the County's motion, noting that even
if it had considered only the evidence introduced during the
taxpayer's case-in-chief-primarily Boris's
opinion-the taxpayer's evidence was sufficient to
overcome the presumption that the assessment was correct.
Id. at *4 n.22. Only after the court ...