This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
John A. Woodhall, Jr., et al., petitioners,
Respondent Below, (A05-2425),
Timothy R. Pieh, et al.,
Filed July 25, 2006
Kandiyohi County District Court
File No. 34-CV-05-112
Raymond R. Waechter, Wallace F. Gustafson, Waechter & Gustafson, 328 Fifth Street S.W., P.O. Box 567, Willmar, MN 56201 (for appellants)
Attorney General, David M. Jann, Assistant Attorney General,
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Ross, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
These consolidated appeals arise from eminent-domain proceedings in which the district court dismissed appellants’ appeals from the commissioners’ awards for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Because appellants failed to perfect their appeals, we affirm.
These are consolidated appeals from the district court’s orders dismissing appellants’ challenges of condemnation awards for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
partial report of the condemnation commissioners containing the award of
damages for the taking of the Woodhalls’ properties was filed on January 21,
2005. The commissioners’ report
containing the award for the Piehs’ property was filed on February 18,
2005. The Woodhalls and the Piehs
appealed to the district court, challenging their respective awards. None of the appellants served a copy of the
notice of appeal on the
state moved to dismiss the district-court appeals on the ground that
appellants’ failure to serve notices of appeal on the
D E C I S I O N
eminent-domain proceedings, commissioners are appointed by the district court
“to ascertain and report the amount of damages that will be sustained by the
[landowners] on account of [the] taking.”
At any time within 40 days from the date that the report has been filed, any party to the proceedings may appeal to the district court from any award of damages embraced in the report, or from any omission to award damages, by: (1) filing with the court administrator a notice of such appeal, and (2) serving by mail a copy of such notice on all respondents and all other parties to the proceedings having an interest in any parcel described in the appeal who are shown in the petitioner’s affidavit of mailing, required by section 117.115, subdivision 2, as having been mailed a notice of the report of the commissioners.
party’s failure to strictly comply with the notice requirements of section
117.145 deprives the district court of subject-matter jurisdiction over the
117.145 creates two categories of parties who must be notified of the appeal:
(1) all respondents and (2) all other parties interested in the condemned
that they did not serve these named respondents with appeal notices within the
40-day limit, the Woodhalls and the Piehs argue that none of the respondents
retained an interest in the respective condemned parcels. They claim that the county had removed those
parcels from the tax rolls at least two years before the appeals, and the Piehs
contend that Wells Fargo Bank never held a mortgage on the affected real estate
and that the Van Orts’ contract for deed was satisfied one day after the appeal
period expired. They urge that an
equitable reading of section 117.145 would compel the district court’s
retention of jurisdiction when parties who did not receive appeal notices had
no interest in the condemned lands anyway.
They allege that it would be unfair to deprive them of their opportunity
to appeal merely because of the omission of notices to unaffected parties, and,
in support of that position, they rely on a concurring opinion in Hous. & Redev. Auth. v. Adelmann,
590 N.W.2d 327, 333 (
The state contends that all of the omitted parties were respondents and that, even if the county removed the condemned parcels from the tax rolls, there can remain tax-lien issues that the state is required to resolve in the condemnation proceeding.
need not reach the issue of whether or not the omitted parties had interests in
the condemned lands because all fit into the first category of parties who must
receive appeal notices, namely, respondents named in the eminent-domain
proceeding. Section 117.145 is clear and
unambiguous. If a statute is clear on
its face, courts are not entitled to construe it but rather must enforce the
statute as written.