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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

284.28 TAX-FORFEITED LANDS; LIMITATIONS ON ADVERSE CLAIMS.
    Subdivision 1. Titles presumed valid. (a) The title of the state, or its successors in interest,
to land forfeited for delinquent taxes shall not be held invalid in any action or proceeding by
reason of any failure, omission, error or defect in the proceedings respecting the taxation of the
land or forfeiture thereof, including without limitation:
(i) substantial or prejudicial defects, including both nonjurisdictional and jurisdictional
defects, in the tax forfeiture proceedings;
(ii) cases where the land was exempt from taxation;
(iii) cases where the taxes upon which the alleged forfeiture was based were in fact paid
prior to forfeiture; and
(iv) prejudice to the interests of persons under disability referred to in subdivision 4, except
within the limitation periods provided in this section. It is the policy of the state of Minnesota that
except as otherwise provided in this section the failures, omissions, errors or defects shall not
fetter the marketability of real estate.
(b) All provisions of law related to the title of the state or its successors in interest, shall
be liberally construed in favor of the state, its officers, agents and its successors in interest.
The burden of proving that the title of the state, or its successors in interest, is invalid shall
rest upon the party asserting the invalidity.
    Subd. 2. Actions asserting procedural defects; time limits. Except as provided in
subdivision 5, no cause of action or defense shall be asserted or maintained upon any claim
adverse to the state, or its successors in interest, including but not limited to any claim based upon
any failure, omission, error, or defect described in subdivision 1, respecting any lands claimed to
have been forfeited to the state for taxes, unless such cause of action or defense is asserted in an
action commenced within one year after the filing of the county auditor's certificate of forfeiture,
as provided by section 281.23, subdivision 9, and acts supplementary thereto, or by any other law
hereafter enacted providing for the filing and recording of such certificates.
    Subd. 3. Actions asserting invalid certificates; time limits. Except as provided in
subdivision 5, no cause of action or defense, claiming that any auditor's certificate of sale or state
assignment certificate arising from the nonpayment of taxes on a parcel of land is invalid shall
be asserted or maintained upon any claim adverse to the holder of the certificate or the holder's
successors in interest, or to the state or its successors in interest, including but not limited to any
claim based upon any failure, omission, error, or defect described in subdivision 1, respecting
any such land, unless such cause of action or defense is asserted in an action commenced within
one year after the filing of proof of service of the auditor's notice of expiration of the time for
redemption, as provided by section 281.21, and acts supplementary thereto, or by any other law
hereafter enacted providing for notice of expiration of time for redemption and the filing thereof.
    Subd. 4. Actions by persons under disability. Except as provided in subdivision 5, no
person under disability to sue during the one year periods provided by subdivisions 2 and 3 by
reason of absence, infancy, mental illness resulting in commitment pursuant to chapter 253B,
or any other disability shall have a right to assert any cause of action or defense adverse to the
title of the state, or its successors in interest, in any proceeding at law or in equity for opening,
vacating, setting aside or invalidating the forfeiture, the auditor's certificate of sale or the state
assignment certificate. Persons under the disability to sue shall have the right to commence
an action for recovery of damages out of the general fund after the disability is removed in
accordance with subdivision 10.
    Subd. 5. Adverse possession; time limits. In cases where the lands are and ever since the
time of filing the auditor's certificate of forfeiture under section 281.23, subdivision 9, or filing
of service of notice of expiration of redemption under section 281.21, have been in the actual,
open, continuous, and exclusive possession of the owner, or the owner's successors in interest,
claiming adversely to the state or its successors in interest, the period of limitations as to such
owner, or the owner's successors in interest, shall be
(i) the time of the possession, or
(ii) the period of limitations provided in subdivisions 2 and 3, whichever period is greater.
    Subd. 6. Presumption of abandonment. Any claimant failing to commence an action
or assert a defense within the time prescribed by subdivisions 2 and 3 shall be conclusively
presumed to have abandoned all right, title, and interest in the lands described in the county
auditor's certificate of forfeiture or notice of expiration of redemption, which certificate of
forfeiture when filed under section 281.23, subdivision 9, or notice of expiration of redemption
when filed under section 281.21, shall constitute notice of the forfeiture of the lands affected to all
persons having or claiming an interest therein. If no action or defense is asserted and notice of lis
pendens recorded within the time prescribed by subdivisions 2 and 3, a certificate of sale or state
assignment certificate recorded with the county recorder has the force and effect of a patent after
the expiration of the period prescribed by subdivision 1, subject to the rights of persons described
in subdivision 5 and any rights set forth in the certificate of sale or state assignment certificate.
Except as provided in subdivision 11, the time prescribed by subdivisions 2 and 3 shall not
commence to run until June 15, 1977 as to any county auditor's certificate of forfeiture or notice
of expiration of the time for redemption filed prior to June 15, 1977.
    Subd. 7. Compensation for unjust deprivation. Any claimant who by reason of any
material failure, omission, error or defect of any public officer or employee in the performance
of the officer's or employee's duties under the laws relating to the taxation of land or forfeiture
thereof is unjustly deprived of any land or of any interest therein, may institute an action in
the district court to recover compensation for such unjust deprivation out of the general fund
provided in subdivision 8.
    Subd. 8. Fee; appropriation. At the time of sale of a parcel of tax-forfeited land, the county
auditor shall charge and collect in full an amount equal to three percent of the total sale price
of land. Before filing a notice of expiration of time for redemption, in cases where an auditor's
certificate of sale or a state assignment certificate has been issued, the county auditor shall charge
and collect in full from the holder of the certificate an amount equal to three percent of the
appraised value of the property for tax purposes. The amounts so collected by the auditor shall be
deposited in the state treasury and credited to the general fund.
In determining compensation for the unjust deprivation suffered by the claimant, which may
include severance damages sustained if the claimant owns adjoining land, the court shall take
into account delinquent taxes, penalties, costs, and interest which would have been due and
owing if the claimant had redeemed the land.
No claimant shall recover the value of improvements made to the land by other persons or
the increment in value of land that occurs after the claimant has actual notice of the forfeiture
proceeding. All claims ordered by the district court to be paid shall be obligations of the state and
shall be paid out of the general fund from legislative appropriations, the collection of money by
county auditors or from any other sources as provided by law.
There is appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of finance amounts
sufficient to pay the amount by which any claims ordered to be paid under this subdivision.
    Subd. 9. Defense of action. In any action brought to recover loss or damage from the general
fund, the commissioner of finance, in that official capacity, shall be named as defendant. The
attorney general or, at the attorney general's request, the county attorney of the county in which
the land or a major part of it lies, shall defend the commissioner of finance in all such actions.
    Subd. 10. Action to recover damages; time limit. Any action or proceeding pursuant to
this section to recover damages shall be commenced within ten years after the expiration of the
periods within which claims may be asserted pursuant to subdivisions 2 and 3, and not afterwards.
If, within this ten year period the person entitled to bring such action or proceeding is under legal
disability, such person, or anyone claiming under the person, may commence such action or
proceeding within the period expiring two years after such disability is removed or within the
ten-year period, whichever period is greater.
    Subd. 11. Barred rights. Laws 1977, chapter 265 shall not affect any right already barred on
June 15, 1977.
    Subd. 12. Applicability of pending action. The period of limitations provided in
subdivisions 2 and 3 shall not apply to any action or proceeding pending on June 15, 1977.
    Subd. 13. Section is supplementary. Except as may be necessary to give effect to the
provisions of Laws 1977, chapter 265, this section is supplementary to and not exclusive of
other laws dealing with the same subject matter.
History: 1963 c 810 s 1-5; 1969 c 373 s 1; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1977 c 265 s 1; 1980 c 543 s
1-3; 1981 c 356 s 339; 1982 c 567 s 1; 1982 c 581 s 24; 1986 c 444; 1989 c 335 art 4 s 73-75;
1Sp1989 c 1 art 11 s 1,2; 1995 c 264 art 16 s 14; 1996 c 305 art 1 s 62,63; 2003 c 112 art 2 s 50