Menard, Inc. (Store #3047) v. County of Dakota, 19HA-CV-19-1966

CourtTax Court of Minnesota
Writing for the CourtWendy S. Tien, Chief Judge.
PartiesMenard, Inc. (Store #3047), Petitioner, v. County of Dakota, Respondent.
Docket Number19HA-CV-19-1966,19HA-CV-20-2197
Decision Date25 May 2021

Menard, Inc. (Store #3047), Petitioner,
v.

County of Dakota, Respondent.

Nos. 19HA-CV-19-1966, 19HA-CV-20-2197

Tax Court of Minnesota, Regular Division, Dakota County

May 25, 2021


ORDER ON RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO COMPEL

This matter came before the Honorable Wendy S. Tien, Chief Judge of the Minnesota Tax Court, on respondent Dakota County's motion to compel.

Jeffery J. McNaught, Attorney at Law, represents petitioner Menard, Inc. (Store #3047).

Suzanne W. Schrader, Assistant County Attorney, represents respondent Dakota County.

Dakota County moves this court to compel discovery. Petitioner opposes the motion. The court, upon all the files, records, and proceedings herein, now makes the following:

ORDER

1. Respondent's motion to compel answers to discovery is granted.[1]

2. On or before May 7, 2021, Petitioner must fully respond to Respondent's written discovery requests, dated March 5, 2021. Responses must comply with Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure 26.07 and 33.01(d).

3. Respondent may file and serve within 30 days of the date of this order an affidavit setting forth its expenses, including attorney fees, incurred in connection with its motion to compel. Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.01(d)(1). Petitioner may file an opposition to Respondent's affidavit, which may challenge both the award of expenses and the amount of expenses, within 10 days of service of Respondent's affidavit.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

MEMORANDUM

Wendy S. Tien, Chief Judge.

I. Background

On April 28, 2019, and May 31, 2020, Menard, Inc. (Store #3047) ("Menard") filed two property tax petitions in this court as to property taxes payable in 2019 and 2020 for the subject property (PID #01-26900-03-010) located in Apple Valley.[2] The court subsequently filed a Scheduling Order governing deadlines in this matter, including an April 26, 2021 discovery cutoff.[3]

On March 5, 2021, Dakota County served interrogatories and requests for production of documents (the "discovery requests") on Menard, [4] with responses due on or before April 5, 2021.[5]On April 2, 2021, Menard's counsel requested an extension of the response deadline to allow settlement discussions to take place.[6] Although the County's counsel agreed to extend the deadline to April 13, 2021, she also stated settlement discussions would not take place until their Assessor's Office had the opportunity to review Menard's responses to the discovery requests.[7]

On April 14, 2021, the County filed and served on Menard motions to compel discovery responses both in the above-captioned cases and the West St. Paul cases.[8] Menard opposed the County's motion.[9] A hearing on the County's motion took place on April 29, 2021.[10] As of the hearing date, Menard had not responded to the discovery requests.[11]

II. Governing Law

Minnesota Statutes section 271.06, subdivision 7 (2020), provides that, in general, the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure (the "Rules") govern the procedures in the tax court, where practicable. The Rules provide that parties may obtain discovery by methods including written interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.02(a); Minn. R. Civ. P. 33.0l(a); Minn. R. Civ. P. 34.01.

Trial courts "[have] considerable discretion in granting or denying discovery requests." Erickson v. MacArthur, 414 N.W.2d 406, 407 (Minn. 1987); see also Montgomery Ward & Co., Inc. v. Cnty. of Hennepin, 450 N.W.2d 299, 305-09 (Minn. 1990) (applying Erickson to the tax court). Pursuant to Rules 33.01(b) and 34.02(c), a party is required to respond or object to discovery requests within 30 days. When a party fails to respond or object to a discovery request, the party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer or production of documents. Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.0l(b)(2). Additionally, the party whose conduct necessitated the motion to compel may be required to pay the moving party the reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion, including attorney fees. Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.01(d)(1).

III. Analysis

Menard objects to the County's motion to compel on the grounds it was not filed and served in accordance with this...

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