This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).






David R. Johnson, et al.,


James H. Sorenson, et al.,


Filed September 19, 2000


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. 000203509


Eric Daniel Cook, Leonard, O’Brien, Wilford, Spencer & Gale, Ltd., 100 South Fifth Street, Suite 1200, Minneapolis, MN 55402-1216 (for respondents)


Lawrence H. Crosby, Jay D. Olson, Crosby & Associates, 630 Roseville Professional Center, 2233 Hamline Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55113 (for appellants)



            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Parker, Judge.*



U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

            Appellants James and Marlene Sorenson challenge the issuance of a writ of restitution for respondents David and Barbro Johnson in an unlawful detainer proceeding, alleging that respondents are not entitled to evict them because there was never a contract for deed.  Because the writ of restitution is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.


            In July 1999, appellants and respondents entered into a contract for deed for homestead property in Hennepin County.  Appellants were already living in the home at this time.  Appellants failed to make the down payment on the contract for deed.  Respondents served notice of cancellation of the contract for deed on November 3, 1999.  Appellants refused to vacate the premises after they failed to reinstate the contract for deed within the 60 day required period.

            In February 2000, respondents filed this unlawful detainer action.  Appellants argued that there was never a valid contract for deed.  The court found that appellants unlawfully detained the premises and entered judgment in favor of respondents based on the canceled contract for deed.  This appeal followed.




Under the unlawful detainer statute, a person may be evicted if the person unlawfully detains or retains possession of real property.  Minn. Stat. § 504B.301 (Supp. 1999).  An unlawful detainer action provides a summary proceeding to quickly determine present possessory rights.  Lilyerd v. Carlson, 499 N.W.2d 803, 812 (Minn. 1993); Cloverdale Foods of Minn., Inc. v. Pioneer Snacks, 580 N.W.2d 46, 49 (Minn. App. 1998).  The unlawful detainer proceeding “merely determines the right to present possession and does not adjudicate the ultimate legal or equitable rights of ownership possessed by the parties.”  Gallagher v. Moffet, 233 Minn. 330, 333, 46 N.W.2d 792, 793 (1951).  The unlawful detainer action does not bar subsequent actions involving title or equitable rights.  Lilyerd, 499 N.W.2d at 812.

The only issue in an unlawful detainer proceeding is whether the facts alleged in the complaint are true.  Mac-Du Properties v. LaBresh, 392 N.W.2d 315, 317 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Oct. 29, 1986).  On review, we determine only whether the district court’s findings of fact are clearly erroneous.  Phillips Neighborhood Hous. Trust v. Brown, 564 N.W.2d 573, 574 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. Sept. 18, 1997).

The complaint alleged that appellants had been unlawfully occupying the property due to their failure to vacate after the cancellation of the contract for deed. Appellants admit that they did nothing after receiving the notice of cancellation of the contract for deed.  This unlawful detainer proceeding is not the proper forum to challenge the contract for deed.  The district court’s finding of unlawful detainment based on a canceled contract for deed is supported by substantial evidence.[1]


* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. Art. VI, § 10.

[1] Appellants also claim the unlawful detainer statute is unconstitutional because its abbreviated time constraints deprive parties of due process of law.  We decline to review this issue because appellants failed to notify the attorney general of the challenge to the constitutionality of this statute.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 144; Waldner v. Peterson, 447 N.W.2d 217, 219 (Minn. App. 1989).