Foley & Mansfield Client Prevails in Minnesota Court of Appeals Eviction Case

On July 22, 2008, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a Scott County jury verdict against a Foley & Mansfield client (BTI) in an eviction proceeding, which had been brought over BTI’s objection as a separate suit from a pending shareholder / corporate ownership lawsuit. BTI asserted that the eviction action should have been stayed as the issues of ownership and the right to use the properties were already being litigated between the parties in another county. The trial court allowed the eviction action to proceed, but refused to instruct the jury on BTI’s affirmative defenses. In a published and unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the eviction jury verdict. The appellate court held that the district court abused its discretion by denying BTI’s motion to stay that action when (1) an existing, separate district court action would be dispositive of the issues of possession and title to the subject commercial real property and (2) the district court in the eviction action has concluded that some of the claims asserted in the first-filed action were essential to BTI’s defense of the eviction action. Mike Haag, Tom Pahl, and Hillary Parsons, attorneys in Foley & Mansfield’s Minneapolis office, handled the BTI appeal. “Although we would have preferred this same outcome without the unnecessary fees and costs associated with the first trial and this appeal, the Court of Appeals’ holding, and its rationale vindicates our consistent position, namely, BTI wants to have one jury hear and decide all of the disputed issues between the parties,” said Pahl, BTI’s lead trial attorney.