Barbara Bank v. Minn. Dep’t of Human Services, A20-1466 (Minn. January 13, 2021)
This appeal centers on the procedure of appealing a case from the WCCA to the Supreme Court.
Relators filed a petition for writ of certiorari on November 18, 2020. The Clerk of the Appellate Courts then issued the writ of certiorari to relators on November 20, 2020. In addition, the Clerk of the Appellate Courts sent to relators’ counsel a Notice of Case Filing which included a reminder to file proof showing service of the issued writ on the WCCA.
On November 23, 2020 relators filed an affidavit stating that the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, among others, was served with a copy of the issued writ. No proof was filed showing that a copy of the issued writ was served on the WCCA. On December 9, 2020, relators filed an amended affidavit of service which substituted the WCCA for the Clerk of the Appellate Courts as one of the recipients for the service made originally on November 23, 2020.
Asserting that the WCCA was never served with a copy of the issued writ, on either November 23, 2020, or December 9, 2020, respondent Barbara Bank moves to dismiss the appeal. Relators oppose the motion to dismiss asserting that it was a clerical error naming the Clerk of the Appellate Courts on the affidavit of service dated November 23, 2020 but that the address was correct for the WCCA even if the WCCA was not named explicitly.
Relators tried to argue that the correct address for the WCCA was used on the November 23, 2020, affidavit of service. However, the Supreme Court ruled that service must be made on the agency, not to an address at which the service recipient, as well as others who are not intended to be service recipients, are located. It further stated, “ After all, service must be made on a specific entity, the WCCA – in fact, a specific person within the WCCA, “the administrator of the” WCCA.” The fact that the Clerk of the Appellate Courts was in the same building as the WCCA did not save the service defect as it was not directed to the proper agency.
Takeaway: make sure your appeals are effective down to the mailing addresses or risk a dismissal.