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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

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

                             CHAPTER 170-S.F.No. 84 
                  An act relating to government; providing for 
                  protection of public officials and employees; 
                  prohibiting the filing of fraudulent liens; providing 
                  civil remedies; proposing coding for new law in 
                  Minnesota Statutes, chapter 514. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  [514.99] [NONCONSENSUAL COMMON LAW LIENS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) "Public official or 
        employee" means:  
           (1) an elected or appointed official or an employee of a 
        state, a department, agency or public instrumentality of a 
        state, or a political subdivision of a state; or 
           (2) an employee of the federal government or a federal 
        agency as defined for purposes of the Federal Tort Claims Act, 
        United States Code, title 28, section 2671. 
           (b) "Lien" means an encumbrance on property as security for 
        the payment of debt.  "Lien" does not include a nonconsensual 
        common law lien. 
           (c) "Nonconsensual common law lien" means a purported lien 
        that: 
           (1) is not provided for by a specific state or federal 
        statute; 
           (2) is not consented to by the owner of the property 
        affected; and 
           (3) is not a court-imposed equitable or constructive lien.  
        For purposes of this clause, "court" means a federal district 
        court, Minnesota district court, or the Minnesota tax court. 
           Subd. 2.  [NO DUTY TO ACCEPT NONCONSENSUAL COMMON LAW 
        LIENS; NOTICE OF INVALID LIEN.] (a) No person has a duty to 
        accept for filing or recording a claim of nonconsensual common 
        law lien unless: 
           (1) the claim is accompanied by a specific order from a 
        court of competent jurisdiction authorizing the filing of the 
        lien; 
           (2) the lien statement is accompanied by an affidavit of 
        personal service or service by certified mail of notice of the 
        proposed lien on the subject of the lien; and 
           (3) the lien statement includes the mailing address of the 
        lien claimant. 
           (b) No recording officer, recording office, or governmental 
        entity is liable for the acceptance or rejection for filing or 
        recording of a claim of nonconsensual common law lien or a 
        notice invalid lien. 
           Subd. 3.  [PETITION FOR RELEASE OF NONCONSENSUAL COMMON LAW 
        LIEN.] (a) A person having an interest in real or personal 
        property subject to a recorded claim of a nonconsensual common 
        law lien, who believes the claim of lien is invalid, may 
        petition the district court of the county in which the claim of 
        lien has been recorded for an order, which may be granted ex 
        parte, directing the lien claimant to appear before the court at 
        a time no earlier than six nor later than 21 days following the 
        date of service of the petition and order on the lien claimant, 
        and show cause, if any, why the claim of lien should not be held 
        invalid.  The petition must state the grounds upon which relief 
        is requested, and must be supported by the affidavit of the 
        petitioner or petitioner's attorney setting forth a concise 
        statement of the facts upon which the petition is based.  The 
        clerk of the court shall assign a case number on the 
        miscellaneous docket to the petition.  No filing fee is 
        required.  The proceeding must be expedited, and the Rules of 
        Civil Procedure need not apply. 
           (b) The order to show cause must be served upon the lien 
        claimant by personal service or by mailing copies of the 
        petition and order to the lien claimant at the claimant's last 
        known address or any other address determined by the court to be 
        likely to give actual notice, or as the court may determine is 
        appropriate, including by publication.  If service is by mail, 
        service is deemed complete three days after mailing.  The 
        envelopes must bear the return address of the sender.  If 
        service is allowed by publication, it must be made at least once 
        a week for not less than two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of 
        general circulation in the county in which the claim of lien has 
        been recorded as designated by the court, with a copy of the 
        last notice mailed first class, postage prepaid to the lien 
        claimant. 
           (c) The order to show cause must clearly state that if the 
        lien claimant fails to appear at the time and place noted, the 
        claimed lien shall be stricken and released and that the lien 
        claimant may be ordered to pay actual damages and the costs 
        incurred by the petitioner, including reasonable attorney fees. 
           (d) If, following a hearing on the matter, the court 
        determines that the claimed lien is invalid, the court shall 
        issue an order striking and releasing the claim of lien and 
        shall award actual damages, costs, and reasonable attorney fees 
        to the petitioner to be paid by the lien claimant.  If the court 
        determines that the claim of lien is valid, the court shall 
        issue an order so stating and may award costs and reasonable 
        attorney fees to the lien claimant to be paid by the petitioner. 
           Subd. 4.  [LIENS AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES.] A 
        claim of lien against a public official or employee based on the 
        performance or nonperformance of that official's or employee's 
        duties is invalid unless accompanied by a specific order from a 
        court of competent jurisdiction authorizing the filing of the 
        lien or unless a specific statute authorizes the filing of the 
        lien. 
           Subd. 5.  [PENALTIES.] A person who submits or is 
        responsible for submitting for recording or filing any document 
        purporting to create a nonconsensual common law lien against 
        real property, knowing or having reason to know that the 
        document is forged or groundless, contains a material 
        misstatement or false claim, or is otherwise invalid, is liable 
        to the owner of the real property for not less than $5,000 or 
        for actual damages caused thereby, whichever is greater, 
        together with costs and reasonable attorney fees.  Additional 
        punitive damages may be assessed by the court.  A grantee or 
        other person purportedly benefited by a recorded document that 
        creates a nonconsensual common law lien against real property 
        and is forged or groundless, contains a material misstatement or 
        false claim, or is otherwise invalid, who willfully refuses to 
        release the document or record upon request of the owner of the 
        real property affected, is liable to the owner for the damages 
        and attorney fees provided in this section. 
           Subd. 6.  [SUNSET.] This section expires on August 1, 2002. 
           Presented to the governor May 13, 1999 
           Signed by the governor May 17, 1999, 4:36 p.m.