This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
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
Crow Wing County District Court
File No. C3-05-2008
James W. Nelson,
Mark B. Hirsch,
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Minge, Judge.
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.
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.
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 (
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 (
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.
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,
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. 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
failure to obtain an injunction halting cancellation proceedings affects the
defenses available to the defaulting party.
25 Eileen M. Roberts,
necessity of obtaining an injunction was further demonstrated in Block v.
Litchy, 428 N.W.2d 850, 852-53 (
in Federal Land Bank of
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