Before the Minnesota Supreme Court


October 2006




Summaries prepared by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office



Monday, October 2, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol



            Isles Wellness, Inc., n/k/a Minneapolis Wellness, Inc., et al., Appellants vs. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., et al., Respondents – Case Nos. A04-485, A04‑486, A04-487, A04-488, and A04-489:  In Isles Wellness, Inc. v. Progressive N. Ins. Co., 703 N.W.2d 513, 514 (Minn. 2005), this court held that the prohibition against corporate practice of medicine applies to the practice of chiropractic.  The question presented in this appeal is whether appellants are entitled to be paid for chiropractic services rendered to respondents’ insureds before this court’s earlier decision.  (Hennepin County.)


            Richard J. Jacobson, Appellant vs. $55,900 in U.S. Currency, Respondent – Case No. A05-60:  Agents of the Dakota County Drug Task Force seized $55,900 in currency from a safe in an apartment building owned by appellant Richard Jacobson after a narcotics detection dog alerted on the currency.  Jacobson contests the forfeiture of the currency and presents the following issues on appeal:  (1) whether he preserved for appeal his challenge to the district court’s credibility determinations; (2) whether he presented testimony sufficient to rebut the statutory presumption that the currency was involved with controlled substances; (3) whether the district court erroneously admitted evidence of a canine sniff as substantive evidence that the currency was involved with controlled substances; and (4) whether the evidence was insufficient, as a matter of law, to establish by clear and convincing evidence the forfeitable nature of the currency.  (Dakota County.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol



            John S. Drewitz, Appellant vs. Motorwerks, Inc., et al., Respondents – Case No. A04-2338:  This second lawsuit between a shareholder/employee and the corporation that employed him presents the following issues for review:  (1) whether appellant John Drewitz remained a shareholder in respondent Motorwerks after his employment ended; (2) whether Drewitz’s claim for a fair-value buyout of his shares in Motorwerks is barred by res judicata; and (3) whether Drewitz’s claims for shareholder status and distributions after his employment ended are barred by res judicata, either because they could have been brought as part of his first lawsuit or because he was required to amend his first complaint to include them.  (Hennepin County.)


            Manpower, Inc., Relator vs. Commissioner of Revenue, Respondent – Case No. A06-468:  Relator Manpower, Inc., appeals from a determination by the Commissioner of Revenue that the income of its affiliate, Manpower France, is subject to Minnesota corporate franchise tax.  At issue is whether Manpower France is a “foreign entity” exempt from Minnesota tax, or whether it is subject to Minnesota tax because it elected to be classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.  (Minnesota Tax Court.)


Wednesday, October 4, 2006, 10:00 a.m.

University of St. Thomas School of Law


            Richard Breza, Appellant vs. City of Minnetrista, Respondent – Case No. A04-2286:  Appellant Richard Breza applied to respondent City of Minnetrista for an exemption from regulations governing the filling of a wetland area on his property.  The city did not respond to Breza’s request for more than a year, and then denied on grounds it had no authority to grant it.  Minnesota Statutes § 15.99 (2004) requires the city to approve or deny such a request within 60 days.  At issue are:  (1) whether Minn. Stat. § 15.99 is merely a timing statute or whether it allows local government units to grant exemptions not otherwise authorized by law; and (2) whether a local government unit has authority under the Wetland Conservation Act to grant an exemption for filling certain types of wetlands in return for creation of new or expansion of existing wetlands at another location.  (Hennepin County.)


Thursday, October 5, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

Supreme Court Courtroom, State Capitol


            State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Arturo Montano Martinez, Appellant – Case No. A05-696:  On appeal from his conviction of first-degree murder, appellant Arturo Montano Martinez presents the following issues for review:  (1) whether the district court erred when it allowed the prosecution to introduce testimony given in an earlier trial by a witness who initially refused to testify in Martinez’s trial; (2) whether the admission of expert testimony on gangs deprived Martinez of a fair trial; and (3) whether the district court erred in sentencing.  (Hennepin County.)


            State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Morris Jerome Pendleton, Jr., Appellant – Case No. A05-1758:  On appeal from his conviction of first-degree murder, appellant Morris Pendleton, Jr., presents the following issues for review:  (1) whether the district court erred in denying Pendleton’s challenge under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), to the prosecution’s peremptory strike of a minority from the jury; (2) whether the district court erred in admitting evidence of Pendleton’s two prior convictions of making terroristic threats and fleeing a police officer; and (3) whether the district court erred in its instructions to the jury on the charge of felony murder committed during the course of a kidnapping.  (Redwood County.)


Monday, October 9, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

Courtroom 300, Minnesota Judicial Center



            In the Matter of the Rate Appeal of Benedictine Health Center – Case No. A05-873:  Appellant Benedictine Health Center appeals from a decision of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services disallowing, for purposes of setting appellant’s rates, certain costs pertaining to a self-insured group health plan for appellant’s employees.  At issue is the extent to which costs pertaining to self-insured group health plans were “incurred” by appellant, as that term is used in setting the rate at which the state reimburses nursing homes for caring for residents eligible for medical assistance.  (Minnesota Department of Human Services.) 


            State of Minnesota, Appellant vs. William Leroy Fields, Respondent - Case No. A04-2474:  On appeal from the reversal of the conviction of respondent William Fields of criminal sexual conduct, appellant State of Minnesota presents the following issues on appeal:  (1) whether the prosecution properly cross-examined Fields about allegations that he had stolen money from a previous employer without giving notice to the defense that it intended to do so; (2) whether the prosecution’s closing argument constituted improper vouching for witnesses or a misstatement of the applicable burden of proof; and (3) whether the district court’s improper instruction to the jury that the victim’s testimony need not be corroborated requires that Fields receive a new trial.  (Otter Tail County.)



Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

Courtroom 300, Minnesota Judicial Center



            In the Matter of the Welfare of:  S.M.E., Child – Case No. A06-330:  By order dated December 13, 2005, the Carver County Juvenile Court revoked a stay of adjudication in S.M.E.’s juvenile court proceedings.  S.M.E.’s counsel requested reconsideration of the revocation, and the juvenile court held an evidentiary hearing on the request.  On January 12, 2006, the juvenile court issued amended findings of fact and an order reaffirming its earlier decision.  S.M.E. filed a notice of appeal on February 13, 2006, from the January 12 order.  The court of appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely.  At issue are:  (1) whether the January 12 order was an appealable order; and (2) if the January 12 order was not itself appealable, whether it extended the time to appeal from the December 13, 2005, order.  (Carver County.)


            NONORAL:  Randall Mark Spears, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A05-319:  Appellant Randall Spears was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and sentenced as a patterned sex offender to a term of imprisonment of 40 years, an upward durational departure.  The question on appeal from the denial of postconviction relief is whether Spear’s claims under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), are procedurally barred because they were raised in an earlier postconviction petition.  (Scott County.)


            NONORAL:  Cletus Eugene Schneider, petitioner, Appellant vs. State of Minnesota, Respondent – Case No. A06-625:  On appeal from the denial of postconviction relief from his conviction of first-degree murder, appellant Cletus Schneider presents the following issues for review:  (1) whether the district court erred in denying his petition for postconviction relief without conducting an evidentiary hearing; and (2) whether he was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal.  (Dakota County.)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 9:30 a.m.

Hutchinson High School



            All Parks Alliance for Change, Appellant vs. Uniprop Manufactured Housing Communities Income Fund, d/b/a Ardmor Village, Respondent – Case No. A05-912:  Appellant All Parks Alliance for Change presents the following issues on appeal:  (1) whether respondent, the owner of a manufactured home park, may, as a reasonable limit as to time, place and manner, allow noncommercial leafleting/canvassing only between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and (2) whether respondent may enforce a “no-contact” list that prohibits noncommercial contact with specific residents.  (Dakota County.)