Byline: Minnesota Lawyer
Suitable Placement Options
Appellant grandmother sought to adopt her three grandchildren after their parents' parental rights were terminated by the District Court. Generally, when relatives are interested in adopting children under guardianship of the commissioner of human services, they must receive notice of adoption-review hearings, as well as adoption placement agreements, and they have a right to ask the District Court to adopt the child pursuant to a motion for adoption placement. A District Court need not provide a relative with notice, however, if the court "ruled out" the relative as a suitable adoptive placement. Here, without a formal proceeding, county social services asserted, and the District Court later confirmed, that grandmother was ruled out as a suitable adoptive home. Grandmother contended that the District Court did not explicitly rule her out as a suitable adoptive placement and incorrectly determined that she failed to make the necessary prima facie showing in her motion for adoption placement.
The Court of Appeals held that, in adoption-placement cases, the District Court must issue a written ruling expressly excluding a relative as a suitable placement option in order for that relative to be considered "ruled out by the court" pursuant to Minn. Stat. 260C.607, subd. 2(5). Reversed and remanded.
A18-1228 In re Welfare of Children of J.L.G. (Anoka County)
Breach of Contract
Appellant/cross-respondent was the assignee of lawsuits brought by seven customers of respondent/cross-appellant, a provider of cellular service, claiming breach of contract based on data-speed limitations applied to unlimited-data plans. Respondent moved to dismiss, in part on the ground that appellant lacked standing to bring the lawsuit because an aggregated lawsuit was precluded by respondent's contract with its customers. The District Court denied the motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals concluded that this aggregated lawsuit was precluded by the parties' contract, noting that the assignors had explicitly agreed to bring claims only in their individual capacities and not as members of any purported class or representative proceeding. Reversed.
A17-1733 CrowdSuit, LLC v. AT & T Mobility, LLC (Hennepin County)
Mentally Ill; Sufficiency of the Evidence
On appeal from her commitment as mentally ill, appellant argued that the record did not support the findings that were the basis for the determination that appellant was a danger to herself or others. The Court of Appeals concluded that appellant's conduct leading up to and during her hospitalization created a threat of physical harm to herself and others, providing sufficient evidence for her commitment. Affirmed.
A18-0993 In re Civil Commitment of Lein (Hennepin County)
SDP/SPP; Sufficiency of the Evidence
Appellant appealed from the District Court's order indeterminately civilly committing him as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) and as a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP). The Court of Appeals concluded that, despite the fact that appellant's convictions included only one for criminal sexual conduct, the evidence supported the District Court's determination that appellant was a sexually dangerous person and its determination that appellant met the sexual-psychopathic-personality criteria. Affirmed.
A18-1290 In re Civil Commitment of Gutierrez (Ramsey County)
Child Protection; Transfer of Custody
Appellant-mother challenged the District Court's order transferring permanent legal and physical custody of two of her children to their biological father. The Court of Appeals was not persuaded that the District Court's finding that the county failed to provide reasonable efforts, by itself, precluded the transfer of legal custody, and mother's completion of her case-plan services and her correction of the original conditions that led to the out-of-home placement do not preclude the District Court's permanency disposition. However, the District Court's order did not fully comply with the requirements of Minn. R. Juv. Prot. P. 42.07, subd. 6, and could address other issues stemming from the custody transfer. Affirmed and remanded.
A18-1186 In re Welfare of Children of J.M.P. (Fairbault County)
Spousal Maintenance; Modification
Appellant-husband challenged the District Court's decision to modify spousal maintenance from temporary to permanent and argued that the District Court (1) abused its discretion in finding that respondent-wife made a reasonable effort to rehabilitate; (2) erred in its findings as to respondent's reasonable monthly expenses; (3) failed to make other findings required by statute; and (4) abused its discretion in awarding respondent need-based attorney fees. The Court of Appeals concluded that the District Court did not err in (1) determining that respondent made reasonable efforts to rehabilitate; (2) relying on the 2009 decree's determination of respondent's reasonable monthly expresses; and (3) setting the amount and duration of wife's award. The Court also concluded that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in awarding respondent need-based attorney fees, but erroneously included $10,000 of attorney fees from a previous appeal. Affirmed as modified.
A18-0082 Johnson v. Foster (Ramsey County)
Driver's License Revocation
Appellant Commissioner of Public Safety challenged the District Court's order rescinding the revocation of respondent's driver's license. This matter was stayed pending the Supreme Court's resolution of Morehouse v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 911 N.W.2d 503 (Minn. 2018); and Johnson v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 911 N.W.2d 506 (Minn. 2018). Following the disposition of those cases, the appeal was reinstated, and both parties submitted supplemental briefing. The Court of Appeals concluded that the record contained no evidence that respondent prejudicially relied on an inaccurate implied-consent advisory, but the District Court failed to address whether respondent voluntarily consented to the search of his urine. Reversed and remanded.
A16-1391 Francisco v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety (Anoka County)
In this dispute over an easement for a shared driveway, appellants argued that the District Court erred by denying their request...