Re:Litigation, October 2012

10/02/2012 / Real Estate Litigation Practice Group






Allowing Continued Occupancy By Tenant After Termination Notice Was Not Waiver Of Landlord’s Right To Evict
By Julie N. Nagorski

A frequent claim raised by a tenant facing eviction is that the landlord waived, through its conduct, the right to evict the tenant, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in Koenig v. Koenig clarifying the extent of landlord waivers.  No. A11-920, 2012 WL 762306 (Minn. App. March 12, 2012). Koenig v. Koenig clarifying the extent of landlord waivers. 

Minimum Compensation: An Update on County of Dakota V. Cameron, IV

In 2006 the Minnesota Legislature adopted a law intended to provide for just compensation to a property owner who is forced to relocate because of a public project. Our first glimpse of judicial interpretation of minimum compensation arrived on March 26, 2012, from the Minnesota Court of Appeals in County of Dakota v. Cameron IV,A11-1273 (Minn. App. March 26, 2012). Read more...


Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals and Holds that Pesticide Drift into Organic Fields May Not Give Rise to Trespass Claims
By Jennifer Singleton

In an August 2012 decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that particulate matter, including pesticides that drift onto organic farms, cannot form the basis of a trespass claim. Regulation governing certification of organic crops, does not apply when pesticide contamination is the result of drift, and not intentional application by the organic farmer.


Deadline for Filing Property Tax Appeals

The deadline for filing a property tax appeal is not until April 30, 2013, but this is the perfect time to consider whether you should be filing a property tax appeal before next year’s deadline.  Larkin Hoffman does free evaluations for properties with assessed values of $2 million or greater and provides evaluations in other cases for a flat fee of $500.  We have in-house appraisal expertise and access to property databases that enable us to provide you with the information and analysis you need to determine whether your property is overvalued for tax purposes and you should be filing an appeal.  Contact any member of our valuation team to arrange for an evaluation:  Gary Van Cleve, Rob Stefonowicz, Michael Mergens or Tim Rye.



News and Notes

The Larkin Hoffman Real Estate Litigation Department has been recognized in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Law Firms” rankings in Tier 1 for Land Use and Zoning Litigation.  The department is the only practice group in the Twin Cities recognized as achieving Tier 1 status in this area of litigation.


Tamara O'Neill Moreland, Michael Mergens and Julie Nagorski were named to the list of Rising Stars® in the 2012 issue of Minnesota Law & Politics.  Only 2.5 percent of attorneys in Minnesota are listed as Rising Stars.


Gary Van Cleve and James Susag were named 2012 SuperLawyers® by Minnesota Law & Politics.


Tamara O’Neill Moreland is now licensed to practice in South Dakota.


The tax appeal team of Gary Van Cleve, Mike Mergens, and Tim Rye filed a total of 49 tax appeal petitions for the pay 2012 tax year.  The collective value of the property represented in those petitions exceeds $100,000,000.


Tamara O’Neill Moreland and Julie Nagorski successfully represented property owners in reclaiming their property after cancellation of a contract for deed and refusal of the occupant to leave.


Rob Stefonowicz was elected Chair of the Eminent Domain Section of the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA).  His term will begin in September 2012 and continue through the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  The HCBA is Minnesota’s largest district bar association.  The HCBA provides 8,400 members with continuing legal education, social events, publications, professional development and mentoring, and opportunities for pro bono work and service to the community.


James Susag and Julie Nagorski successfully represented a real estate brokerage firm in prosecuting its claims that an owner of a multi-unit building breached the exclusive leasing agreement and caused it to suffer significant monetary damages.  Following a successful opposition to a vigorous motion for summary judgment, they recently negotiated a settlement of the claims, allowing the brokerage firm to obtain substantial compensation for its damages.


Gary Van Cleve in now recognized as a certified civil pretrial advocate by the National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy.


Tamara O’Neill Moreland recently secured summary judgment and sanctions for a property owner whose tenant claimed ownership of the property.


Rob Stefonowicz recently secured summary judgment for his developer client in two separate matters involving disputed mechanic’s lien claims


Michael Mergens and Julie Nagorski, on behalf of a group of property owners facing claims that their neighbor had acquired a prescriptive easement over their property, recently secured an order granting their motion for summary judgment, dismissing the claims against the majority of the owners. 


Tim Rye on behalf of a property owner in a condemnation matter negotiated a settlement under a tight time frame that settled relocation, holdover, and title issues and resulted in an additional $115,000 to the property owner.


Tamara O’Neill Moreland recently secured a dismissal of an action commenced against a funeral home for breach of fiduciary duty with the court finding that the funeral home never agreed to act as a trustee.


On June 29, 2012 Gary Van Cleve presenteda lecture onState v. B&F Properties--issues of the admissibility and valuation of gravel in a condemnation case at the Hennepin County Bar Association’s annual Eminent Domain CLE.  The lecture was based upon State v. B&F Properties, a condemnation case that Gary and Rob Stefonowicz tried to a jury last year, recovering over $7.8 million for the property owner.


CONCILIATION COURT (“small claims court”) MODIFICATIONS SIGNED INTO LAW: Governor Dayton signed SF506, which was sponsored in the Senate by lawyer-legislator Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen). The bill raises the conciliation court claim limit from $7,500 to $10,000 starting Aug. 1, and then raises the limit to $15,000 on Aug. 1, 2014.  Consumer credit actions will remain at their current cap of $4,000.

Contact Our Real Estate Litigation Lawyers: 

Email 952.896.3277

Timothy A. Rye
Email 952.896.1535
Michael J. Mergens

Email 952.896.3297


Email 952.896.3254  

Julie N. Nagorski

Email 952.896.1525


Email 952.896.1574


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.