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Minnesota Eminent Domain Laws

Minnesota Eminent Domain Laws can be found in Chapter 117 of Minnesota Statutes.  Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 117.012, all condemning authorities, including home rule charter cities and all other political subdivisions of the state, must exercise the power of eminent domain.  Eminent domain may only be used for a public use or public purpose.

However, provisions regarding taking of property under laws relating to drainage or to town roads will not come under Chapter 117 since those laws themselves expressly provide for the taking and specifically prescribe the procedure[i].

Minn. Stat. § 117.016 provides that whenever the state or any of its agencies or political subdivisions thereof is acquiring property for a public purpose and it is determined that a portion or a part of a tract of land is necessary for its particular public purpose and that other portions or parts of the same tract of land or the remainder thereof are needed by another agency or political subdivision of the state for a public purpose, the state or its agencies or political subdivisions desiring such lands or parts thereof may enter into an agreement each with the other for the joint acquisition of such lands by eminent domain proceedings.

If a property is required for any authorized purpose of the state, the proceeding should be taken in the name of the state by the attorney general upon request of the officer, board, or other body charged by law with the execution of such purpose[ii].

Before commencing an eminent domain proceeding, the acquiring authority must obtain at least one appraisal for the property proposed to be acquired[iii].  Also, the owner may obtain an appraisal by a qualified appraiser of the property proposed to be acquired[iv].

Further, the acquiring authority must pay the reimbursement to the owner within thirty days after receiving a copy of the appraisal and the reimbursement information[v].  Upon agreement between the acquiring authority and the owner, the acquiring authority may pay the reimbursement directly to the appraiser.

In addition to the appraisal requirements, before commencing an eminent domain proceeding, the acquiring authority must make a good faith attempt to negotiate personally with the owner of the property in order to acquire the property by direct purchase instead of the use of eminent domain proceedings.

Whenever the petitioner require title and possession of all or part of the owner’s property prior to the filing of an award by the court appointed commissioners, the petitioner should, at least 90 days prior to the date on which possession is to be taken, notify the owner of the intent to possess by notice served by certified mail and before taking title and possession shall pay to the owner or deposit with the court an amount equal to petitioner’s approved appraisal of value[vi].

Amounts deposited with the court should be paid out under the direction of the court.  If it is deemed necessary to deposit the above amount with the court, the petitioner may apply to the court for an order transferring title and possession of the property or properties involved from the owner to the petitioner.  In all other cases, the petitioner has the right to the title and possession after the filing of the award by the court appointed commissioners.

Minn. Stat. § 117.043 provides that a court having jurisdiction over an eminent domain proceeding may issue an order compelling delivery of possession of the property under any of the following conditions:

(1)   the court has issued an order authorizing transfer of title and possession and the petitioner has paid or deposited its approved appraisal value; or

(2)   the petitioner has acquired title of the real estate.

Upon successfully bringing an action to compel an acquiring authority to initiate eminent domain proceedings relating to a person’s real property which was omitted from any current or completed eminent domain proceeding, such a person is entitled to petition the court for reimbursement for reasonable costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees actually incurred in bringing such action[vii].

In all cases, a petition describing the desired land, stating by whom and for what purposes it is proposed to be taken, and giving the names of all persons appearing of record or known to the petitioner to be the owners thereof should be presented to the district court of the county in which the land is situated praying for the appointment of commissioners to appraise the damages which may be occasioned by such taking[viii].

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 117.087, when property is taken and it is a security for a loan or advance of credit with a provision requiring or permitting the imposition of a penalty if the loan or advance of credit is prepaid, the cost of the penalty is an item of damages which should be separately stated.

Similarly, when property is purchased by a body having the power of eminent domain, the buyer should inquire whether it is security for a loan or advance of credit with a provision requiring or permitting the imposition of a penalty if the loan or advance of credit is prepaid and, if so, the penalty should be an item considered by the parties in the negotiation of the price.

The report of the commissioners should be filed with the court administrator of the district court within 90 days from the date of the order appointing the commissioners, unless such order otherwise prescribes, but for cause shown upon written motion of the petitioner and not less than three days notice thereof duly served by mail or otherwise upon such respondents, or their attorneys who entered an appearance at the hearing on the petition or notified the petitioner of their formal appearance, the court may extend the time for making and filing the report[ix].

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, as having been mailed a notice of the report of the commissioners[x].

Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 117.187, when an owner is relocated, the amount of damages payable, at a minimum, must be sufficient for an owner to purchase a comparable property in the community and not less than the condemning authority’s payment or deposit, to the extent that the damages will not be duplicated in the compensation otherwise awarded to the owner of the property.

Minn. Stat. § 117.195 provides that all damages allowed, whether by the commissioners or upon appeal, should bear interest from the time of the filing of the commissioner’s report or from the date of the petitioner’s possession whichever occurs first.

[i] Minn. Stat. § 117.012.

[ii] Minn. Stat. § 117.035.

[iii] Minn. Stat. § 117.036 (a).

[iv] Minn. Stat. § 117.036 (b).

[v] Minn. Stat. § 117.036 (c).

[vi] Minn. Stat. § 117.042.

[vii] Minn. Stat. § 117.045.

[viii] Minn. Stat. § 117.055.

[ix] Minn. Stat. § 117.105.

[x] Minn. Stat. § 117.145.

Inside Minnesota Eminent Domain Laws