This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







JBI & Associates, Inc.,





Mahmoud M. Soltan,



Siri L. Soltan,



Soltan Ltd., et al.,




Filed May 9, 2006


Lansing, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. HC 050405516


Steven H. Bruns, Peterson, Fram & Bergman, P.A., 50 East Fifth Street, Suite 300, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)


Mahmoud M. Soltan, Siri L. Soltan, 288 Greenhill Lane, Long Lake, MN 55356 (pro se appellants)


            Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


Mahmoud and Siri Soltan appeal pro se from an eviction judgment, arguing that the district court erred by granting JBI & Associates, Inc. (JBI) possession of foreclosed property.  Because the record establishes that the Soltans did not timely redeem the property after foreclosure and that JBI had lawful title to the property, the district court did not err by concluding that JBI was entitled to possession of the property.  We affirm.


Mahmoud and Siri Soltan purchased the residence that is the subject of this eviction proceeding in 1990.  Because the Soltans were unable to make their mortgage payments in 2003, the mortgagee began a foreclosure action.  The Soltans were unsuccessful in their attempt to assert a homestead-exemption defense against the foreclosure, and the Hennepin County Sheriff held a mortgage-foreclosure sale in February 2004.  AHR Properties, Inc. purchased the property at the sheriff’s sale, but JBI, a junior creditor by virtue of a judgment against the Soltans, redeemed the property in February 2005 and acquired a sheriff’s certificate of redemption.  The record, although sparse, indicates that the Soltans did not attempt to redeem the property within the redemption period.  In a separate proceeding, the district court considered and upheld the validity of JBI’s redemption and entered judgment for JBI against the Soltans’ claims on March 14, 2005. 

            In April 2005 JBI filed an eviction action against the Soltans, seeking to recover possession of the property.  Following a hearing, a housing court referee entered judgment for JBI on April 19, 2005.  The housing court concluded that the Soltans did not timely attempt to redeem the property following the mortgage-foreclosure sale and that JBI was entitled to sole possession of the property.

            The Soltans filed a notice of request for review in the district court on April 21, 2005.  A district court judge affirmed the housing court referee’s judgment on May 20, 2005.  The Soltans filed a notice of appeal in this court on May 25, 2005, seeking review of the May 20 order.  In a June 30, 2005 order, we construed the notice as an appeal from both the April 19 judgment and the May 20 order.



            As an initial matter, JBI challenges the timeliness of the Soltans’ appeal.  In an eviction action, the statute permits an appeal only from the eviction judgment, and the appeal period expires ten days after entry of that judgment.  Minn. Stat. § 504B.371, subd. 2 (2004); Goldberg v. Fields, 247 Minn. 213, 215-16, 76 N.W.2d 668, 670 (1956); Tonkaway Ltd. P’Ship v. McLain, 433 N.W.2d 443, 443-44 (Minn. App. 1988).  The appeal period is absolute, and, unless specifically authorized by law, an “appellate court may not extend or limit the time for filing the notice of appeal or the time prescribed . . . for securing review of a decision or an order of a court.”  Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 126.02.

            Postjudgment motions, in some circumstances, extend the time for appeal because the date from which the appeal period begins to run is the date of the district court’s decision on the motion.  Id. 104.01, subd. 2.  Although the appellate rule that extends the time for appeal until disposition of a postjudgment order does not explicitly include an order in a district court review proceeding, the rule includes a motion for amended findings and equivalent motions.  Id., subd. 2(b), (f).  A request for review is “in the nature of a motion for amended findings or a new trial.”  Warner v. Warner, 391 N.W.2d 870, 873 (Minn. App. 1986).

            The record confirms that the Soltans did not file a notice of appeal within ten days after the district court referee’s entry of the April 19 eviction judgment.  We conclude, however, that the time for appeal began to run not on April 19, but on May 20, when a district court judge affirmed the referee’s determination.  The housing court judgment did not become final until the district court, after receiving a request for review, completed its review of the judgment on May 20.  See Warner, 391 N.W.2d at 873 (observing that judgment becomes final when time to request review expires).  And the request for review, which is comparable to a motion for amended findings, tolled the appeal time until the court ruled on the request.  Because the Soltans filed a notice of appeal on May 25, which was within ten days after the district court’s order affirming the housing referee’s determination, their appeal is timely.  See Rubey v. Vannett, No. A05-310, slip op. at 6 (Minn. filed May 4, 2006) (addressing parallel posttrial procedure for appeals following motion for new trial under Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.03).  We therefore consider the appeal on the merits.


            When a mortgagor fails to redeem a property within the redemption period and holds over the property after foreclosure, the party entitled to the property may recover possession in an eviction action for unlawful detention.  Minn. Stat. § 504B.285, subd. 1(1)(iii) (2004).  An eviction action for unlawful detention has a limited scope and is summary in nature.  Id. § 504B.001, subd. 4 (2004); Lilyerd v. Carlson, 499 N.W.2d 803, 812 (Minn. 1993); Amresco Residential Mortgage Corp. v. Stange, 631 N.W.2d 444, 445 (Minn. App. 2001).  The determination in the proceeding is limited to the right of present possession, and the action does not adjudicate the ultimate legal or equitable rights of ownership.  Dahlberg v. Young, 231 Minn. 60, 68, 42 N.W.2d 570, 576 (1950); Lanzo v. F & D Motor Works, 396 N.W.2d 631, 634 (Minn. App. 1986).  Thus, a party may not challenge the ownership or title of the property and may only raise these issues in a separate action.  Amresco Residential, 631 N.W.2d at 445-46; see also Keller v. Henvit, 219 Minn. 580, 584-85, 18 N.W.2d 544, 547 (1945) (precluding determination of title in eviction action).

            The plaintiff in an eviction action must plead and prove facts that demonstrate that the defendant is unlawfully possessing the property, and the only issue for trial is whether the facts alleged in the complaint are true.  Mac-Du Props. v. LaBresh, 392 N.W.2d 315, 317 (Minn. App. 1986), review denied (Minn. Oct. 29, 1986).  We review the court’s findings of fact for clear error.  Schuett Inv. Co. v. Anderson, 386 N.W.2d 249, 252 (Minn. App. 1986).

The housing court did not err by concluding that JBI, not the Soltans, is entitled to possession of the property.  JBI offered a certificate of redemption, which establishes its ownership of the property and demonstrates its entitlement to possession.  The Soltans offered no evidence that they timely redeemed the property.  On this record, the district court properly concluded that they did not redeem the property within the redemption period.  Because they failed to redeem the property, the Soltans were no longer the lawful owners and were not entitled to remain in possession. 

The Soltans attempt to defeat the eviction action by asserting that the foreclosure of their home was unlawful because of their homestead exemption.  But the Soltans are precluded from challenging the propriety of the foreclosure in an eviction action.  The limited scope and summary nature of the eviction proceeding permits the Soltans to challenge the right to possession but not to litigate disputed issues of ownership.  To litigate issues relating to the foreclosure, the Soltans must initiate an independent action.  The record, in fact, indicates that the Soltans unsuccessfully litigated the validity of JBI’s redemption in district court before JBI filed the eviction action.  Thus, the Soltans either raised or had the opportunity to raise the foreclosure issue in that action.

Finally, the Soltans claim that JBI failed to offer proof of title, that the court incorrectly assumed that JBI had title, and that a warranty deed establishes their ownership of the property.  These claims are without merit.  The record includes a copy of the sheriff’s certificate of redemption and the certificate of foreclosure, which together establish that JBI has title to the property.  See Minn. Stat. § 580.19 (2004) (providing that sheriff’s certificate of sale is prima facie evidence that purchaser has title in fee).  The district court therefore did not improperly assume that JBI had title to the property; it relied on evidence in the record.  And the existence of a warranty deed from the original purchase of the home in 1990 is not probative of ownership after foreclosure of the home.

The record supports the district court’s determination that the Soltans were unlawfully holding over the property after a valid foreclosure and sheriff’s sale.  The district court did not err by ordering that the Soltans must vacate the property.