Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Metropolitan Council v. Ziegler Inc.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 13, 2020

Metropolitan Council, Respondent,
v.
Ziegler Inc., et al., Respondents Below, St. Stephens Evangelical Lutheran Church, Appellant.

          Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-16-13591

          Ann K. Bloodhart, General Counsel, Peter A. Hanf, Associate General Counsel, Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

          Thomas J. Radio, Felhaber Larson, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

          Considered and decided by Larkin, Presiding Judge; Florey, Judge; and Klaphake, Judge. [*]

         SYLLABUS

         The Metropolitan Council-insofar as it performs its public-wastewater-management services-is a "public service corporation" for purposes of Minn. Stat. § 117.189(a) (2018).

          OPINION

          FLOREY, JUDGE

         A condemnation proceeding between the parties resulted in an award for appellant that was over 40% greater than respondent's final written offer. Appellant moved for an award of fees and costs pursuant to the mandatory-fee provision of Minn. Stat. § 117.031(a) (2018). Respondent argued, and the district court agreed, that respondent is a public-service corporation under Minn. Stat. §§ 117.189(a) and 117.025, subd. 10, and is therefore exempted from the mandatory-fee provision of section 117.031(a). In the factual context of this case, we agree. We therefore affirm.

         FACTS

         In 2016, respondent Metropolitan Council (the Council) filed a petition to acquire temporary construction and access easements over real property owned by appellant Saint Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church (St. Stephen).[1] The Council sought the easements to perform maintenance on the underground sewer system in furtherance of its Bloomington Sewer Improvement Project. The district court granted the Council's petition, and the Council commenced its work on the St. Stephen property in May 2017.

         The Council's final written offer to St. Stephen for compensation was $31, 000.00. St. Stephen rejected this offer, and the matter was submitted to a commissioners' hearing in June 2018. The commissioners awarded St. Stephen $106, 000.00 plus pre-judgment interest and a $5, 000 reimbursement for appraisal fees. The parties accepted the decision understanding that it did not preclude future claims for fees and costs.

         St. Stephen filed a notice of appeal, seeking an award of $67, 880.43 for attorney fees, expert fees, and other costs arising out of the litigation. St. Stephen argued that it is entitled to the award because Minn. Stat. § 117.031(a) provides for a mandatory award of fees and costs where "the final judgment or award for damages . . . is more than 40 percent greater than the last written offer of compensation made by the condemning authority." The Council did not challenge the validity of the statute, nor did it argue that the commissioners' award to St. Stephen was not more than 40 percent of the Council's final written offer. It did claim, however, that the exception for "public service corporations" contained in Minn. Stat. § 117.189(a) should apply. The district court agreed with the Council and denied St. Stephen's requested award. St. Stephen appealed.

         ISSUE

         Is the Council a "public service corporation" under Minn. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.