Re:Litigation, January 2012

01/12/2012 / Real Estate Litigation Practice Group







Court Rules Ex-Wife Cannot "Lean" on Lien Defense To Avoid Personal Judgment

By Gary A. Van Cleve

If a husband in a divorce settlement gives up his marital interest in the homestead to his wife and receives a lien on the homestead in excess of $67,000, is the husband’s only remedy if the wife does not pay to foreclose his lien on the homestead?  “No,” says the Minnesota Court of Appeals; the husband can go to court and get a personal judgment against the wife for breach of her payment obligation according to the recent decision of In re the Marriage of Nelson, No. 10-2239 (Minn. App. Dec. 5, 2011). Read more...

Vacancy in the Tax Courts

During the recent recession and downturn in the commercial real estate market there has been increased vacancy across many commercial real estate sectors through higher rates of default by tenants, higher concessions required to maintain occupancy, and reduced demand. Read more...



News and Notes

The real estate litigation practice group welcomes Tim Rye, who comes to the group as an attorney after six years as a commercial real estate appraiser.  During law school and in addition to appraising, Tim was a law clerk with Larkin Hoffman.  He uses his significant real estate and valuation background to assist clients with many complex real estate and valuation issues including property tax appeals and eminent domain matters.  Tim also holds a certified general appraisal license. 


Gary Van Cleve and Tamara O’Neill Moreland successfully represented a vineyard owner against a neighboring farmer for an issue of overspray, negotiating a settlement allowing the owner to obtain significant compensation for the damages he sustained.  


James Susag and Julie Nagorski recently obtained an award of substantial damages for the owner of a large manufacturing building following a four-day trial.  The occupant of the property required, after service of a writ of recovery, several weeks to remove its equipment and inventory and, as it removed those items, it caused damage to the property.  The award compensates the owner for lost rent and inventory costs.

Tamara O'Neill Moreland successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of homeowners against their general contractor and subcontractors for the defective construction of their home, obtaining significant compensation for the homeowners to repair the damages to their home.  


On behalf of the owner of a large commercial building, Gary Van Cleve and Mike Mergens reached a multi-year settlement of a property tax appeal resulting in a three-year total reduction in the assessed value from $6,046,000 to $4,129,000 and a tax savings of $65,545.

Tamara O'Neill Moreland recently achieved a favorable settlement for a construction company accused of failing to perform work on a commercial site, avoiding a significant amount of claimed damages.  


Gary Van Cleve and Rob Stefonowicz’s $7.86 million jury verdict in a condemnation matter against MnDOT was featured in the November 2011 issue of National Jury Verdict Review & Analysis.


The Minnesota Tax Court saw another huge influx of tax appeal petitions this year.  The Tax Appeal Team (Gary Van Cleve, Rob Stefonowicz, Mike Mergens, Tim Rye, and Erin Carlson) filed $83,000,000 worth of appeals for the Pay 2011 year.  

Contact Our Real Estate Litigation Lawyers: 

Email 952.896.3277


Email 952.896.3254  

Michael J. Mergens

Email 952.896.3297


Email 952.896.1574

Julie N. Nagorski

Email 952.896.1525

Timothy A. Rye
Email 952.896.1535

Email 952.896.6711

Erin A. Carlson (Paralegal)

Email 952.896.3317

This alert is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates.  While the information provided in this publication is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.