Wednesday August 16, 2017

REAL PROPERTY TAX LITIGATION: Changing Tax Court Bench.

Minnesota real property tax petitions are filed and determined by the Minnesota Tax Court. In early 2012, the Minnesota Tax Court was comprised of Chief Justice George W. Perez as well as Justice Sheryl A. Ramstad and Kathleen H. Sanberg. However, within approximately one year, there was a complete changeover in the bench.

After more than ten years on the Tax Court, Judge Sanberg was appointed to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota to replace a retiring judge. And in September of 2012, Judge Ramstad resigned after nearly ten years on the Tax Court.

In November of 2012, the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards filed a complaint which named Judge Perez as a defendant alleging violations of state judicial codes claiming, amongst others, that he ignored state law by delayed rulings and essentially operated the court in a slow and ineffective manner. Shortly after a review panel recommended discipline of Judge Perez, the Minnesota Senate refused to confirm his appointment which ended his judicial term on the Tax Court in 2013. Recently the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the panel’s recommendations.

As a result, Governor Dayton appointed an entirely new bench to the Minnesota Tax Court as follows: Chief Justice Bradford Delapena and Justice Joanne Turner were appointed on November 30, 2012, and Justice Thomas G. Haluska was appointed in August of 2013. Along with the change in the bench there has been wholesale procedural changes in how the Tax Court handles its litigation docket.

I have never seen a court change so dramatically and in such a short period of time in my more than twenty years of property tax appeal practice. More than ever, parties can benefit in legal representation from attorneys who are competent and experienced before this fast changing court in this niche area of the law. We have extensive experience in representing real property tax petitioners before the Minnesota tax court. We can determine whether your property has been assessed too high of a valuation compared to its actual value and commence an action via petition to seek a refund.

March 7, 2014.

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