This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






In the Matter of:  Keith Sundberg, as Trustee for the

Merle J. Sundberg Revocable Trust dated August 21, 2002,





Bruce N. Sundberg,



Filed July 3, 2006


Halbrooks, Judge



Crow Wing County District Court

File No. C3-05-2008


James W. Nelson, 502 Laurel Street, P.O. Box 631, Brainerd, MN 56401 (for respondent)


Mark B. Hirsch, 128 Marina View Road, Rockford, MN 55373 (for appellant)



            Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Minge, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            In this appeal from an order granting summary judgment in favor of respondent in an eviction action, appellant argues that the district court erred in granting summary judgment because the cancellation of the contract for deed was void.  Because eviction actions are summary proceedings and the district court properly granted summary judgment, we affirm. 


            In August 1987, appellant Bruce Sundberg and his parents entered into a contract for deed for the transfer of real property from the parents to him.  After his father died and the father’s interests passed to appellant’s mother, his mother transferred her interest in the contract for deed to appellant’s brother, respondent Keith Sundberg, as trustee for the Merle J. Sundberg revocable trust. 

            In September 2004, respondent served appellant with a notice of cancellation that alleged a default of $69,242.80 for unpaid contract-for-deed installments of $1,258.96 per month from March 1, 2000 through September 1, 2004.  Appellant concedes that he failed to take action on the notice within the 60-day statutory redemption period.  After the 60-day redemption period elapsed, respondent’s attorney executed an affidavit of failure to comply with the cancellation notice and recorded the cancellation documents.

            Four months later, appellant filed suit against respondent, requesting damages and alleging, among numerous other claims, that the cancellation was invalid.  According to the parties, that matter is still pending in Crow Wing County District Court. 

            Respondent later filed an eviction action.  After an initial hearing, both parties submitted motions for summary judgment.  Appellant also moved for dismissal and consolidation.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of respondent, granting a writ of recovery for the premises.  That order and the amended order that followed provide for a bond and a stay of the writ during the pendency of this appeal. 


            On appeal from summary judgment, we review the record for the purposes of determining whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court erred in applying the law.  Offerdahl v. Univ. of Minn. Hosps. & Clinics, 426 N.W.2d 425, 427 (Minn. 1988).  Summary judgment is proper when one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03.  On appeal, this court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was granted.  STAR Ctrs., Inc. v. Faegre & Benson, L.L.P., 644 N.W.2d 72, 76-77 (Minn. 2002).

            An eviction action is a proceeding with a limited scope and is summary in nature.  Minn. Stat. § 504B.001, subd 4 (2004); Amresco Residential Mortgage Corp. v. Stange, 631 N.W.2d 444, 445 (Minn. App. 2001).  We have noted that the summary nature of an eviction proceeding “is comparable to the summary nature of the former unlawful-detainer proceeding.”  Fraser v. Fraser, 642 N.W.2d 34, 40 (Minn. App. 2002).  An unlawful-detainer action “determines the right to present possession and does not adjudicate the ultimate legal or equitable rights of ownership possessed by the parties.”  Dahlberg v. Young, 231 Minn. 60, 67-68, 42 N.W.2d 570, 576 (1950).  Because of the limited scope of an eviction proceeding, a party may not challenge the ownership or title of the property in an eviction action, but should raise these issues in separate district court proceedings.  Amresco, 631 N.W.2d at 445-46.

            The plaintiff in an eviction action must plead and prove facts that demonstrate that the defendant is in unlawful possession of 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) (applying rule in an unlawful-detainer case), review denied (Minn. Oct. 29, 1986).   

            Pointing to alleged mistakes in the contract for deed concerning credit for the down payment, the amortization of the amount due on the contract, and an alleged failure to state a default in the cancellation notice, appellant urged the district court to hear arguments that the cancellation and the contract for deed were void.  Holding that it would only address issues of present possession in the eviction proceeding, the district court cited the supreme court’s decision in Dahlberg and refused to rule on appellant’s arguments concerning the validity of the contract for deed, directing appellant to pursue those claims in his other lawsuit.  The district court likewise refused to hear or rule on appellant’s arguments that the cancellation was void. 

            Appellant contends that the district court erred in applying Dahlberg so narrowly and, specifically, by failing to recognize that Dahlberg distinguishes between matters that are void and those that are voidable.  Appellant asserts that Dahlberg stands for the proposition that, while courts hearing eviction matters may not entertain defenses that assert that the instrument in question is voidable, they may hear defenses asserting that an instrument is void.  Appellant argues that the cancellation notice here is void because it “relies on material mistakes.”  But appellant fails to cite any authority supporting his argument that a contract for deed or cancellation notice is void because of “mistake.”  To the contrary, contracts involving mistake are generally voidable, not void.  See Winter v. Skoglund, 404 N.W.2d 786, 793 (Minn. 1987) (holding that a contract involving mutual mistake may be voidable in certain circumstances); see also Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 152 (1981) (providing for voidability in certain circumstances where one party to a contract is mistaken).  Because appellant presents no authority supporting his argument that the district court erred by failing to examine the validity of the underlying contract for deed, we decline to rule on the issue.  See Ganguli v. Univ. of Minn., 512 N.W.2d 918, 919 n.1 (Minn. App. 1994) (noting that this court need not address issues unsupported by legal analysis or citation).

            Appellant also argues that the cancellation notice was not effective because there was actually no default under the contract for deed.  Appellant cites Nolan v. Greeley, 150 Minn. 441, 443, 185 N.W. 647, 648 (1921), for the proposition that a cancellation has no effect if there was no default.  But an eviction action is not the appropriate forum for appellant to argue this claim; appellant failed to take any action on the contract for deed or the cancellation notice during the statutory redemption period, and he cannot now resurrect claims that should have been presented then. 

            Under Minn. Stat. § 559.21, subd. 2a (2004), if a default occurs that allows the seller to cancel a contract for the conveyance of real estate, the seller must serve the buyer with a notice of cancellation that states a default and advises that the contract will be terminated within 60 days unless, before the termination date, the buyer complies with certain conditions to remedy the default.  Before the termination date, and subject to the requirements of Minn. R. Civ. P. 65, a defaulting party may petition the district court to enter an order temporarily enjoining further proceedings regarding the termination of the contract.  Minn. Stat. § 559.211, subd. 1 (2004).  If the buyer complies with the cancellation notice’s requirements before the termination date, the contract is reinstated; if not, the contract is terminated.  Minn. Stat. § 559.21, subd. 4(c), (d) (2004).  “The purpose of these statutory provisions allowing for termination and reinstatement is to provide buyers with notice of impending cancellation and to avoid the harsh result of forfeiture by allowing buyers a reasonable time to remedy their default.”  Edina Dev. Corp. v. Hurrle, 670 N.W.2d 592, 597 (Minn. App. 2003), review denied (Minn. Dec. 23, 2003).

            The failure to obtain an injunction halting cancellation proceedings affects the defenses available to the defaulting party.  25 Eileen M. Roberts, Minnesota Practice § 6.20 at 300 (2005).  In Thomey v. Stewart, this court held that “a claim against contract vendors must be initiated within the applicable statutory redemption period” and thus upheld a writ of restitution when appellant failed to raise a defense to the contract during the statutory redemption period.  391 N.W.2d 533, 536 (Minn. App. 1986). 

            The necessity of obtaining an injunction was further demonstrated in Block v. Litchy, 428 N.W.2d 850, 852-53 (Minn. App. 1998), in which a seller served a cancellation notice alleging defaults that did not exist after a purchaser unknowingly paid off a contract.  The district court granted a temporary injunction, after which the parties settled the matter and stipulated that the injunction be lifted; the cancellation was thereafter completed.  Block, 428 N.W.2d at 852.  On appeal, this court held that title to the land belonged to the purchaser, but not because the cancellation was ineffective for not alleging a true default.  Id. at 853.  Instead, this court decided the case on the grounds that the stipulated order lifting the injunction was based upon mutual mistake, and therefore the court was permitted to vacate the earlier order.  Id.  Block implies that, if there had not been an injunction, the contract cancellation would have been effective even though full payment had been made under the contract.  25 Roberts, supra, § 6.20, at 301.

            And in Federal Land Bank of St. Paul v. Obermoller, this court upheld summary judgment for the bank in an unlawful-detainer action when the defendants attempted to raise a number of equitable defenses during the eviction proceedings.  429 N.W.2d 251, 257 (Minn. App. 1988), review denied (Minn. Oct. 26, 1988).  Similarly, in Amresco, this court reinforced the summary nature of eviction proceedings and upheld the district court’s award of summary judgment when the district court refused to hear the defendant’s title-related counterclaims and defenses in an eviction action.  631 N.W.2d at 446.

            Appellant does not dispute that he was properly served with the cancellation notice.  And he concedes that he failed to take any action on the contract for deed or the cancellation notice during the 60-day statutory redemption period.  He cannot wait to attack the cancellation in an eviction proceeding by asserting defenses that should have been presented during the statutory redemption period.  See Thomey, 391 N.W.2d at 536.  This result is consistent with the statutory definition of eviction as “a summary court proceeding” and the extensive caselaw supporting the proposition that eviction proceedings are limited in scope.  E.g., Dahlberg, 231 Minn. at 67-68, 42 N.W.2d at 576; Amresco, 631 N.W.2d at 445.  Because there is no disputed issue of material fact and the district court properly applied the law, we affirm.