Supreme Court 09.10.09

Via the Pioneer Press, the Court has requested supplemental briefs and additional argument in the Lakeland/DNR variance approval case (previous posts here and here).  The argument is set for October 12.   The issues noted in the article indicate that the Supreme Court is struggling to determine whether the DNR Commissioner has any decision authority at all once the agency approves a local regulation.  If that’s found lacking, then it probably follows that the local ordinance controls any decision once approved by DNR, regardless of the appearance of a conflict with DNR rules.

The Court issues an opinion vacating all prior actions on the St Paul Port Authority’s 876 Bonds, finding that the lower courts improperly extended a 1993 statute amendment to the bonds, which were all issued prior to 1991.  The short version is that development authority bonds issued since 1993 can be treated as a trust, even if no trust was specifically created, and the authority as trustee can attempt to fix problems (like running out of money, as the 876 Fund did) by petitioning the district court.  Development authority bonds issued before 1993 cannot take advantage of this mechanism, unless a trust was specifically created when the bonds were issued.  A wrinkle to watch going forward is the Court’s decision to remand the issue of the Authority’s 2002 and 2004 petitions to the district court.  Having found that the lower court had no jurisdiction over the bonds and should not have approved the Dutch auctions that took place, the question remains: is the motion to vacate those orders made within a reasonable time?  Translated: since the auctions have already happened and bondholders were paid (without objection at the time), what good is it to vacate the order that let that happen?  The district court gets that issue back for fact-finding and decision.

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