Briefs filed in State of Minnesota ex rel. Speaker of House of Representatives Hon. S... Page 1 of 3
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CASE NAME: State of Minnesota ex rel. Speaker of House of Representatives Hon. Steve Sviggum, et
al., petitioners, Appellants, vs. Tom Hanson in his official capacity as Commissioner of Finance or his
successor, et al., Respondents.
Read the opinion in this case at A06-840
CITATION: 732 N.W.2d 312 (Minn. Ct. App. 2007)
Legal Issues in BRIEF OF APPELLANT'S/INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATORS AND
Do individual legislators as members of the Minnesota State Legislature have
standing to bring an action to the court to challenge the executive branch of
government for misappropriation of state funds in violation of the Minnesota
Constitution and/or Minnesota Statutes? The District Court concluded that, at a
minimum, state legislators had standing as citizen taxpayers to assert claims of
misappropriation of state funds. Apposite Cases: Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433
(1932) Raines v Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997) Conant v Robins, Kaplan, Miller &
Ciresi, LLP, 603 N.W.2d 143 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999) Dolak v State Admin Bd, 441
Mich. 547,495 NW2d 539 (1993) Rukavian v Pawlenty, 684 N.W.2d 525 (Minn.. Ct.
App. 2004) Silver v Pataki, 96 N.Y.2d. 532, 755 N.E.2d 842, 730 N.Y.S.2d 482,2001
Slip Op. 06138 (N.y. July 10, 2001).
Whether the writ of quo warranto is an appropriate procedure to require the
Minnesota Commissioner of Finance to show by what authority that office could
disburse funds without an appropriation by law? The District Court declined to
issue a writ of quo warranto concluding it an improper procedure to contest past
conduct of the Commissioner of Finance. Apposite Cases: Clayton v Kiffmeyer,
688 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. 2004) Fletcher v Commonwealth of Kentucky, 163 S.W.3d
852 (Ky. May 19,2005) Jasper v Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 642 N.W.2d 435 (Minn.
2002) Kahn v Griffin, 701 N.W.2d 815 (Minn. 2005) Rice v. Connolly, 488 N.W.2d
241 (Minn. 1992) State ex rel Mattson v. Kiedrowski, 391 N.W.2d 777 (Minn. 1986)
State v. ex rel Palmer v Perpich, 182 N.W.2d 182 (1971) State ex rel Danielson v.
Village of Mound, 48 N.W.2d 855 (1951) Weinstein v. Bradford, 423 U.S. 147 (1975)
Did the Commissioner of Finance disburse state funds without an appropriation by
law in contravention of Articles III, IV, and XI of the Minnesota Constitution? The
District Court did not address this issue. Apposite Cases: Cinncinnati Soap Co v
United States, 301 U.S. 308 (1937) Office of Personnel Management v Richmond,
496 U.S. 414 (1990) In re Matter of Application of the Senate, 10 Minn. 78 (Minn
1865) Izaak Walton League of America Endowment, Inc. v State Dep't of Natural
Res., 252 N.W.2d 852 (Minn. 1977) St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce v
Marzitelli, 258 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. 1977) State ex re Gardner v Holm, 62 N.W.2d 52
(Minn. 1954) Rice v Connolly, 488 N.W.2d 241 (Minn. 1992) Rukavina v Pawlenty,
684 N W.2d 525 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004)
Are the Appellants entitled to attorney fees and costs in responding to the
Briefs filed in State of Minnesota ex rel. Speaker of House of Representatives Hon. S... Page 2 of 3
Commissioner's motion for sanctions? The District Court denied the motion for
attorney fees and costs. Apposite Cases: Kirk Capital Corporation v Bailey, 16 F.
3d 1485,28 Fed. R. Serv.3d 88 (8th Cir. 1994) Gibson v. Coldwell Banker Burnet,
659 N.W.2d 782 (Minn. Ct App 2003) Wagner v Minneapolis Public Schools, 581 N
W.2d 49 (Minn. Ct. App. 1998)
Legal Issues in RESPONDENT'S BRIEF AND APPENDIX:
Is Appellants' Petition for a writ of quo warranto a proper procedure by which to
challenge the purely past conduct of a State public official that is not continuing? The
district court held in the negative. Most apposite authorities: Rice v. Connolly,
488 N.W.2d 241 (Minn. 1992) State ex rel. Mattson v. Kiedrowski, 391 N.W.2d 777
(Minn. 1986) State ex rel. Grozbach v. Common Sch. Dist. 65, 54 N.W.2d 130 (Minn.
1952) Lommen v. Gravlin, 295 N.W. 654 (Minn. 1941)
Does Appellant's Petition requesting an advisory legal opinion regarding a purely
hypothetical future set of facts present a ripe case or controversy? The district court
held in the negative. Most apposite authorities: Kennedy v. Carlson, 544 N.W.2d I
(Minn. 1996) St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce v. Marzitelli, 258 N.W.2d 585
(Minn. 1977) Izaak Walton League of America Endorsement, Inc. v. State Dept. of
Nat. Res., 252 N.W.2d 852 (Minn. 1977)
Do conclusion of proceedings in the district court temporary shutdown proceeding
and legislative ratification of actions taken there under render Appellant's Petition
moot? The district court held in the affirmative. Most apposite authorities: Kahn
v. Griffin, 701 N.W.2d 815 (Minn. 2005) In re Schmidt, 443 N.W.2d 824 (Minn.
1989) Chaney v. Minneapolis Cmty. Dev. Agency, 641 N.W.2d 328 (Minn. Ct. App.
2002), rev. denied (Minn. May 28, 2002)
Does the doctrine of laches preclude Appellants from challenging the district court's
approval of the expenditures at issue when Appellants refused to participate in, or
object to, the district court's proceeding and then subsequently ratified the very
expenditures they now challenge? The district court held in the affirmative. Most
apposite authorities: Apple Valley Square v. City of Apple Valley, 472 N.W.2d 681
(Minn. Ct. App. 1981) Fetch v. Holm, 52 N.W.2d 113 (Minn. 1952) Aronovich v.
Levy, 56 N.W.2d 570 (Minn. 1953)
Do Appellants have standing to as individual members of the Legislature, or as
taxpayers, to challenge the expenditures which they expressly ratified. The district
court held that Appellants had standing in their capacity as taxpayers and did
not decide whether Appellants had standing as legislators. Most apposite
authorities: McKee v. Likins, 261 N.W.2d 566 (Minn. 1977) Rukavina v. Pawlenty,
684 N.W.2d 525 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004) Conant v. Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi,
LLP, 603 N.W.2d 143 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999).
Does Minn. Const. art. XI, § 1 override judicial authority and responsibility to order
State spending where such expenditures are required to maintain critical government
functions? The district court held in the negative. Most apposite authorities:
Coalition for Basic Human Needs v. King, 654 F.2d 838 (1st Cir. 1981) Mattson v.
Kiedroenski, 391 N.W.2d 777 (Minn. 1986) Sharood v. Hatfield, 210 N.W.2d 275
(Minn. 1973) Fletcher v. Commonwealth of Ky., 163 S.W.3d 852 (Ky. 2005)
Did the district court abuse its discretion in denying Appellants' sanctions motion
based on Respondents' premature filing of their own sanctions motion? The district
court by definition held in the negative. Most apposite authorities: Olson v.
Babler, No. A05:, 395, 2006 WL 851798 (Minn. Ct. App. 2006) Gibson v. Coldwell
Banker Burnett, 659 N.W.2d 782 (Minn. Ct. App. 2003) Burnett, 659 N.W.2d 782
Briefs filed in State of Minnesota ex rel. Speaker of House of Representatives Hon. S... Page 3 of 3
(Minn. Ct. App. 2003) Muhammad v. State, Nos. Civ. A-99-3742/99-2694, 2000 WL
1876 (E.D. La. 2000).
Also Filed - REPLY BRIEF OF APPELLANTS/INDIVIDUAL LEGISLATORS
Also Filed - BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE EIGHTY-FOURTH MINNESOTA
SENATE IN SUPPORT OF APPELLANTS
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