Court Backs Tyler

MINNEAPOLIS, MN ( A ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court backs a 94-year-old woman’s claim against the County for unpaid taxes.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Hennepin County in Minnesota violated the constitutional rights of a 94-year-old woman, Geraldine Tyler, by taking her entire condominium when she failed to pay unpaid taxes, which totalled $2,300. The county sold the property for $40,000 but kept the entire sum, including the difference between the sale price and the amount owed. The ruling means that Tyler can now seek compensation for the taking of her property. The court found that the county could not use a “toehold of the tax debt” to take more property than was owed. Minnesota is one of around 12 states that allow local jurisdictions to keep the excess amount from the sale of seized properties. The case is expected to encourage other property owners to challenge such seizures. The ruling is also significant because it affirms that the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment Takings Clause applies to such seizures by local governments.


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