County District Court File Nos. 27-CV-HC-10-5440,
Christopher T. Kalla, Douglass E. Turner, Hanbery &
Turner, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)
Grundman, Joanna K, Dobson, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid,
Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge;
Rodenberg, Judge; and Smith, Tracy M., Judge.
requesting review of a countersigned housing-court order is
not in default within the meaning of Minn. R. Gen. Pract.
611(a) for failure to obtain a transcript within the time
period prescribed in Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 611(c).
TRACY M., Judge.
these consolidated appeals, appellant-landlord appeals from
(1) the housing court's orders granting
respondent-tenant's motions for expungement of two
eviction-case court files and (2) the district court's
order in each case denying review of the expungement order on
the ground that landlord had defaulted on its request for
review by not obtaining a transcript of the hearing before
the referee. Because we conclude that the district court
erred in finding default based on failure to obtain a
transcript, and in denying review of the expungement orders
on that basis, we remand to the district court to reinstate
the requests for review.
2010, respondent-tenant H.E. leased an apartment from
appellant-landord Sela Investments Ltd., LLP. Over the course
of that year, Sela brought two eviction actions against H.E.
Both actions were settled, and H.E. moved out of the
years later, H.E. filed two motions for expungement of an
eviction record, one for each eviction action, in the
housing-court division of Hennepin County District Court.
Sela opposed the motions. A housing-court referee held a
hearing, concluded that H.E. had "failed to prove that
expungement is warranted under Minn. Stat. § 484.014,
" and recommended orders dismissing H.E.'s motions
"with prejudice." A district court judge
countersigned the referee's recommended orders. H.E. did
September of 2016, H.E. again filed two motions for
expungement of an eviction record, asking the housing court
to expunge the same records, this time under the court's
inherent authority rather than the statutory expungement
provision. The motions were served on Sela in October. Sela
did not file any responsive documents. The hearing was set
for January 24, 2017.
January 18, a housing-court referee, upon review of the file
and without a hearing, deemed the motions unopposed under
Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.06 and recommended orders granting
the motions without a hearing. The following day, January 19,
a district court judge countersigned the referee's
January 24, the scheduled hearing date, Sela appeared in
housing court to object to the motions. The same referee
agreed with Sela that he had erred in deeming the motions
unopposed, but he nevertheless recommended that the
expungement motions be granted on the merits. A district
court judge countersigned the referee's recommended
orders, which were filed the following day, January 25.
Requests for Review
January 30, Sela filed timely requests for district court
review of the January 25 orders granting expungement (the
first requests for review). Sela contended that the court
erred in considering the expungement petition after a
previous request was denied with prejudice. In its filings,
Sela indicated that "[n]o transcript is necessary for
review of the issues raised . . . . To the extent that a
transcript might be necessary, [Sela] requests that said
decision be ...