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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  
    Laws of Minnesota 1993 

                        CHAPTER 212-S.F.No. 894 
           An act relating to agriculture; imposing licensing 
          requirements for general merchandise storage 
          warehouses; providing bond claim procedures; amending 
          Minnesota Statutes 1992, sections 231.01, by adding a 
          subdivision; 231.11; 231.12; 231.13; 231.14; 231.17; 
          and 231.18; repealing Minnesota Statutes 1992, 
          sections 231.19; 231.20; 231.21; 231.22; 231.23; 
          231.25; 231.26; 231.27; 231.29; 231.30; 231.31; and 
          231.33. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.01, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 9.  [HOUSEHOLD GOODS.] "Household goods" means: 
    (a) personal effects and property used or to be used in a 
dwelling if it is part of the equipment or supply of the 
dwelling. 
    (b) furniture, fixtures, equipment, and the property of 
business places and institutions, public or private, when a part 
of the stock, equipment, supplies, or property of such 
establishments.  It does not mean the storage of property of a 
business concern in the usual course of its business activities. 
    (c) articles which, because of their unusual nature or 
value, require specialized handling and equipment customarily 
employed in moving household goods. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.11, is 
amended to read: 
    231.11 [SCHEDULE OF RATES; STORING HOUSEHOLD GOODS.] 
    In order to insure nondiscriminatory rates and charges for 
all depositors of household goods, the commissioner shall 
establish a collective rate-making procedure which will insure 
the publication and maintenance of just and reasonable rates and 
charges under uniform, reasonably related rate structures.  
These procedures shall provide for the joint consideration, 
initiation, and establishment of rates and charges, and shall 
assure that the respective revenues and expenses of warehouse 
operators engaged in warehouse services for household goods are 
ascertained.  Any participating warehouse operator party to a 
collectively mandated rate or charge has the right to petition 
the commissioner for the establishment of a rate or charge which 
deviates from the collectively set rate.  Upon receiving the 
commissioner's approval, that warehouse operator may proceed to 
establish the requested rate or charge.  All warehouse operators 
subject to rate regulation under this chapter must comply with 
the commissioner's rate-making procedures.  No warehouse 
operator shall undertake to perform any service, or store any 
household goods, wares, or merchandise, until a schedule of 
rates has been filed and published in accordance with this 
chapter.  In case of emergency, however, a service or storage 
not specifically covered by the schedules filed, may be 
performed or furnished at a reasonable rate, which must then be 
promptly filed, and which is subject to review in accordance 
with this chapter.  
    Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.12, is 
amended to read: 
    231.12 [CHANGE OF RATES; STORING HOUSEHOLD GOODS.] 
    Unless the department otherwise orders, no warehouse 
operator storing household goods may change any rate except 
after ten days' notice to the department and to the public 
pursuant to this section.  Notice shall be given by filing with 
the department and keeping open for public inspection new 
schedules or supplements stating plainly the changes to be made 
in the schedules then in force and the time when the changes 
will go into effect.  The department for good cause shown, may, 
after hearing, allow changes without requiring the ten days' 
notice by an order specifying the changes to be made, the time 
when they shall take effect, and the manner in which they shall 
be filed and published.  
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.13, is 
amended to read: 
    231.13 [CHARGING MORE OR LESS THAN THE PUBLISHED RATE; 
STORING HOUSEHOLD GOODS.] 
    Except as specified in sections 231.11 and 231.12, no 
warehouse operator storing household goods shall have, demand, 
collect, or receive, a greater or less or different compensation 
for any service rendered or for storing any household goods, 
wares, or merchandise than the rates applicable to such service 
or storage, as specified in the schedules of rates on file with 
the commissioner and in effect at the time.  
    When a warehouse operator shall have had household goods in 
store for such a period that the storage charges thereon 
accumulated are more than such household goods would bring at a 
forced sale, the department, upon written application and proof 
thereof, may authorize such warehouse operator to compromise 
such charges for a sum not less than the amount which 
such household goods would bring at such forced sale.  
    Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.14, is 
amended to read: 
    231.14 [DISCRIMINATION IN RATES; STORING HOUSEHOLD GOODS.] 
    Except as herein otherwise specified, no warehouse operator 
storing household goods, or any officer, agent, or employee 
thereof, shall, directly or indirectly, by remittance, rebate, 
or any device, inducement, or other means, suffer or permit any 
corporation or person to obtain any service, or the storage of 
any household goods, wares, or merchandise, at less than the 
rates then established and in force as shown by the schedule of 
rates filed and in effect at the time.  No person or corporation 
shall, directly or indirectly, by any device, inducement, or 
means, either with or without the consent or connivance of a 
warehouse operator storing household goods, or any of the 
officers, agents, or employees thereof, obtain, or seek to 
obtain, any service, or the storage of any household goods, 
wares, or merchandise, at less than the rates then established 
and in force therefor.  Any warehouse operator storing household 
goods, or the officers, agents, or employees thereof, or any 
person acting for or employed by it, or transacting business 
with it, or any other person, who shall violate any provision of 
this section, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor; and, upon 
conviction, subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or to 
a fine not exceeding $3,000, or both.  
    Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.17, is 
amended to read: 
    231.17 [BONDS OF WAREHOUSE OPERATORS.] 
    Every warehouse operator applying for and receiving a 
license from the department, as provided for in this chapter, 
shall file with the department, acceptable to the department, a 
surety bond to the state of Minnesota.  Such bonds shall be in 
an amount to be determined by the department as reasonable for 
the applicant but shall not be less than $10,000 and.  
    The commissioner shall, after a study of the existing 
bonding structure and after consultation with the warehousing 
industry, adopt rules for bonding.  The rules must be adopted by 
April 1, 1994. 
    The bond shall be conditioned for the faithful discharge of 
all duties as a warehouse operator operating under this chapter, 
and full compliance with the laws of the state and rules and 
orders of the department relative thereto.  Failure to maintain 
the bond as required shall void the license.  
    The bond must be continuous until canceled.  To cancel a 
bond, the surety must provide 90 days' written notice of the 
bond's termination date to the licensee and the department. 
    In lieu of the bond required by this section, the applicant 
may deposit with the state treasurer cash; a certified check; a 
cashier's check; a postal, bank, or express money order; 
assignable bonds or notes of the United States; or an assignment 
of bank savings account or investment certificate or an 
irrevocable bank letter of credit as defined in section 
336.5-103, in the same amount as would be required for a bond. 
    Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 231.18, is 
amended to read: 
    231.18 [PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT; HOW COMMENCED 
CLAIMS AGAINST A BOND.] 
    Proceedings before the department against any warehouse 
operator shall be instituted by complaint, verified as pleadings 
in a civil action, stating in ordinary language the facts 
constituting the alleged omission or offense.  The parties to 
such proceeding shall be termed, respectively, complainant and 
respondent. Subdivision 1.  [FILING A CLAIM.] A depositor 
claiming to be damaged by the breach of an agreement to store 
general merchandise and household goods must file a claim with 
the department within 180 days of the date of breach. 
    Subd. 2.  [FORM OF CLAIM.] All claims must be in writing, 
must state the facts upon which the claim is based, must include 
any supporting evidence, and must be signed by the claimant.  
The supporting evidence may consist of, but is not limited to, a 
bill of lading, a warehouse receipt, a contract form, 
correspondence, or photographs. 
    Subd. 3.  [WHERE TO FILE.] All claims must be filed at the 
following address:  Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Grain 
Licensing and Auditing Division, 316 Grain Exchange Building, 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55415. 
    Subd. 4.  [BOND LIMITATIONS.] The bonds are not cumulative 
from one year to the next.  A claim against the bond may only be 
made against the bond in effect at the time the agreement is 
breached.  A bond is not liable for claims filed after 180 days 
from the date of the breach of the bond. 
    Subd. 5.  [PUBLIC NOTICE OF A CLAIM.] Upon determining that 
a depositor has filed a valid claim, the department shall 
publish notice of the claim in the official county newspaper of 
the county in which the licensee's place of business is located. 
    The notice must state that a claim against the bond of a 
licensee has been filed with the department, the name and 
address of the licensee, that any additional claims should be 
filed with the department, the bond disbursement date, and where 
the claims should be filed. 
    The public notice of the claim must appear for three 
consecutive days in newspapers with a daily circulation and for 
two consecutive publications in newspapers published less than 
daily. 
    Subd. 6.  [BOND DISBURSEMENT.] (a) Upon expiration of the 
claim filing period, the department shall promptly determine the 
validity of all claims filed and notify the claimants of the 
determination.  An aggrieved party may appeal the department's 
determination by requesting, within 15 days, that the department 
initiate a contested case proceeding.  In the absence of such a 
request, or following the issuance of a final order in a 
contested case, the surety company shall issue payment promptly 
to those claimants entitled to payment. 
    (b) If a warehouse operator has become liable to more than 
one depositor by reason of breaches of the conditions of the 
bond and the amount of the bond is insufficient to pay the 
entire liability to all depositors entitled to the protection of 
the bond, the proceeds of the bond shall be apportioned among 
the bona fide claimants. 
    Sec. 8.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1992, sections 231.19; 231.20; 231.21; 
231.22; 231.23; 231.25; 231.26; 231.27; 231.29; 231.30; 231.31; 
and 231.33, are repealed. 
    Presented to the governor May 12, 1993 
    Signed by the governor May 14, 1993, 10:05 p.m.