This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).








Daniel D. Larson, et al.,


City of Minneapolis,



Filed June 12, 2007


Collins, Judge*



City of Minneapolis Department of Licenses and Consumer Services

File No. 06-05571



Floyd E. Siefferman, Jr., Saliterman & Siefferman, P.C., U.S. Bank Plaza, Suite 2000, 220 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN  55402 (for relators)



Jay M. Heffern, Minneapolis City Attorney, Erik E. Nilsson, Assistant City Attorney, 333 South Seventh Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN  55402 (for respondent)

            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Collins, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            In this demolition appeal, relator property owners argue that (1) they did not receive adequate notice of the city’s intent to demolish the building; (2) the lack of notice deprived relators of due process of law; and (3) the city acted in an arbitrary fashion when it demolished relators’ building without complying with relevant ordinance provisions.  Because relators have failed to show prejudice resulting from the claimed due-process violations, we affirm.


            On June 3, 2004, LaSalle Bank National Association, as trustee, bought at a mortgage-foreclosure sale the property located at 2447 16th Avenue South in respondent City of Minneapolis.  In July 2005, the city condemned the property for being a boarded building.  On July 7, 2005, the bank initiated a code-compliance inspection, so it could sell the property.  The inspection revealed mold and water damage throughout the building, required replacement of the heating system, and identified numerous electrical and other violations.

            On January 13, 2006, relator Daniel Larson (Larson), who was interested in buying the property, executed an acknowledgment of responsibility for code compliance, which stated that all work must be completed within six months pursuant to ordinance requirement.  On January 27, 2006, Larson submitted to the city a sworn construction statement outlining the work to be done on the property and the estimated cost.  On March 10, 2006, relators Daniel and Barbara Larson filed with the Office of the Registrar of Titles in Hennepin County a deed showing their purchase of the property.

            On February 3, 2006, the city posted on the property a placard, titled “NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING,” stating that the property had been deemed a nuisance under Minneapolis Code of Ordinances [hereinafter MCO] ch. 249, § 249.30 and that the city inspections director recommended that the building be razed or rehabilitated.  The placard stated, “The Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee [(PS&RS)] of the Minneapolis City Council will hold a public hearing in Room 317, City Hall at 2:00 P.M. on 22-March-2006 to act on this recommendation.”  On February 21, 2006, the city sent by certified mail notice of the hearing to Edward Schmidt, who was the property owner of record, and also published notice in Finance and Commerce on March 7, 14, and 21, 2006.  City staff personally notified Larson of the March 22 meeting. 

            A presentation prepared by the PS&RS for the March 22 meeting stated that Larson had submitted all documentation requested by the city regarding his construction plan and had the means to rehabilitate the building and recommended allowing Larson a 90-day stay to rehabilitate the building before proceeding with demolition.  On March 31, 2006, the PS&RS issued findings of fact, conclusions and recommendations, concluding that the property was a nuisance and recommending demolition.  This recommendation was adopted by the city council at its meeting held the same day.  Contrary to the presentation prepared for the March 22 meeting, the recommendation adopted by the city council did not provide for a stay to allow rehabilitation.

            By letter dated April 7, 2006, relators’ counsel notified the city that relators intended to pursue a misrepresentation claim against the city for misrepresenting that the property could be rehabilitated as a duplex.  The city acknowledged receipt of the notice of claim by letter dated April 26, 2006.  By May 25, 2006, the city had demolished the building on the property.  By letter dated May 25, 2006, relators’ counsel sought payment in full of the damage identified in the April 7 letter plus attorney fees.  By letter dated June 20, 2006, the city notified relators that their claim was denied.  Relators’ counsel received the letter on June 27, 2006.  Relators filed this certiorari appeal on July 17, 2006.



            Relators’ petition for writ of certiorari identifies the June 20, 2006 letter denying relators’ damages claim as the decision of which they seek review.  The April 7 and May 25, 2006 letters from relators’ attorney to the city regarding relators’ damages claim are essentially settlement demands.  “Certiorari is an extraordinary remedy only available to review judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and actions.”  Minn. Ctr. for Envtl. Advocacy v. Metro. Council, 587 N.W.2d 838, 842 (Minn. 1999) (quotation omitted).  Three required indicia for a quasi-judicial decision are “(1) investigation into a disputed claim and weighing of evidentiary facts; (2) application of those facts to a prescribed standard; and (3) a binding decision regarding the disputed claim.”  Id.  Because the June 20 decision does not meet these requirements, it is not an appealable order.

            But a notice of appeal is liberally construed in favor of its sufficiency, and it is not insufficient because of defects that could not have been misleading.  Kelly v. Kelly, 371 N.W.2d 193, 195 (Minn. 1985).  Because it is evident from the petition for writ of certiorari that relators are challenging the city council’s decision to demolish their building, we construe this appeal to be from the March 31, 2006 city-council decision.

            The city admits that it did not mail a copy of the March 31 decision to relators.  Because MCO § 249.50(b) requires written notice, relators’ petition for certiorari was timely under Senior v. City of Edina, 547 N.W.2d 411 (Minn. App. 1996).  We decline the city’s request to reconsider the Senior holding. 


            This court reviews quasi-judicial administrative decisions by writ of certiorari.  Dietz v. Dodge County, 487 N.W.2d 237, 239 n.3 (Minn. 1992).  Review by certiorari is limited to an inspection of the record and is confined to (1) questions affecting jurisdiction; (2) regularity of proceedings; and (3) whether the order in question was arbitrary, oppressive, unreasonable, fraudulent, under an erroneous theory of law, or without any evidence to support it.  Id. at 239 (quotation omitted).

            Relators argue that their due-process rights were violated by the city’s failure to provide them with notice of the March 31, 2006 city-council meeting and decision.  The ordinance in effect at that time did not require notice of the council meeting but only of the public hearing, and relators received actual notice of the public hearing.  See MCO § 249.40 (public-hearing notice requirement).  Relators argue that the notice provision was deficient in that it did not afford them the opportunity to be heard before the final decisionmaker.  As to the decision, the city concedes that it did not provide relators notice as required under MCO § 249.50.

            Relators rely on City of Minneapolis v. Meldahl, which states:

The state and federal constitutions prohibit the state from taking property without just compensation.  When the government has taken property without formally using its eminent domain powers, the property owner has a cause of action for inverse condemnation.  If a city council fails to follow the proper procedure in razing property, the destruction of property without due process of law constitutes a taking, entitling the plaintiff to a determination of damages by the district court.


607 N.W.2d 168, 172 (Minn. App. 2000) (citations omitted); see also DePalma v. Rosen, 294 Minn. 11, 17, 199 N.W.2d 517, 520 (1972) (concluding that when city failed to follow procedure for rehearing on demolition order, city acted improperly in demolishing building and property owner was entitled to pursue action for damages).

            Relators’ reliance on Meldahl, which addressed a property owners’ right to bring an inverse-condemnation action, is misplaced.  As we have construed it, the current proceeding is an appeal from the March 31, 2006 city-council decision.  The proper method to initiate an inverse-condemnation action is by seeking a writ of mandamus in the district court.  See Meldahl, 607 N.W.2d at 172 (stating mandamus is proper vehicle to assert inverse-condemnation claim); Minn. Stat. § 586.11 (2006) (establishing exclusive original jurisdiction in mandamus cases in district court).

            Relators do not challenge the determination that their building was a nuisance warranting demolition.  They argue that had they received notice of the city-council meeting, they might have been able to persuade the full council to stay the demolition to permit rehabilitation.  But they make no showing of evidence that was not presented at the public hearing that they would have presented to the full council.  Regarding the March 31 decision, relators argue that they did not receive notice in time to seek a stay either before the council or by appeal.  This argument is undercut by the April 7, 2006 letter from relators’ attorney to the city notifying the city that relators intended to pursue a misrepresentation claim against the city.[2]

            Because relators have shown no prejudice as a result of the claimed due-process violations by the city, they are not entitled to reversal of the council’s decision.  See Sweet v. Comm’r of Human Servs., 702 N.W.2d 314, 319-21 (Minn. App. 2005) (applying test for determining whether procedural due process has been violated and noting that relator had failed to show prejudice as a result of procedures followed by commissioner of his right to be heard), review denied (Minn. Nov. 15, 2005).


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

[1] Both parties have included documents in the appendices to their briefs that were not included in the record that was transmitted to this court by the city.  Because neither party has objected to consideration of these documents and it appears that they were inadvertently omitted from the record, we will, on our own initiative, consider the documents to be part of the record on appeal.  See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.05 (permitting this court to correct omissions from the record on its own initiative); see also Stanek v. A.P.I., Inc., 474 N.W.2d 829, 832 (Minn. App. 1991 (declining to strike documents from party’s brief, despite absence of those documents from official record, based on conclusion that documents were actually presented to district court), review denied (Minn. Oct. 31, 1991).



[2] We note that any misrepresentation claim relators may have against the city is not properly before this court in this appeal.