27-CV-14-5600

Filed in Fourth Judicial District Court 4/21/2014 5:20:27 PM Hennepin County Civil, MN

STATE OF MINNESOTA COUNTY OF HENNEPIN Dianna Shonville Jones, Plaintiff, vs. Paul Bertelson and Mission Inn Minnesota, Inc., Defendants. TO:

DISTRICT COURT FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT Case Type: Other Civil Court File No. 27-CV-14-5600 Hon. John Q. McShane

DEFENDANTS’ ANSWER AND COUNTERCLAIM

PLAINTIFF DIANNA SHONVILLE JONES, BY AND THROUGH HER COUNSEL OF RECORD, ANNE M. ROBERTSON ♦ MID-MINNESOTA LEGAL AID, 430 FIRST AVENUE NORTH, SUITE 300, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55401. Defendants Paul Bertelson (“Bertelson”) and Mission Inn Minnesota, Inc. (“Mission

Inn”) (collectively, “Defendants”), for their Answer to Plaintiff’s Complaint state and allege as follows: GENERAL RESPONSE Unless expressly admitted or otherwise qualified, Defendants deny each and every allegation herein and puts Plaintiff to her burden of proof. SPECIFIC RESPONSES 1. Defendants deny any allegations contained in Paragraph 1 of the Complaint and

further affirmatively allege that such allegations have been improperly pled pursuant to Rule 10.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants have responded to each separate allegation below. 2. required. therein. Paragraph 2 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

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3. required. therein. 4. required. therein. 5. required. therein. 6. required. therein. 7. required. therein. 8.

Paragraph 3 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

Paragraph 4 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

Paragraph 5 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

Paragraph 6 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

Paragraph 7 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 8 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, but believe them to be true. 9. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 9 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, but believe them to be true. 10. 11. 12. Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 10. Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 11. Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 12.

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13.

Defendants admit that some of the properties Mission Inn purchased were

foreclosed properties. Defendants admit that the majority of Mission Inn’s tenants are lowincome tenants. Defendants deny the remainder of the allegations contained in Paragraph 13. 14. 15. Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 14. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 15 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 16. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 16 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 17. required. therein. 18. required. therein. 19. required. therein. 20. required. therein. 21. Defendants are aware that Plaintiff received county assistance for housing and Paragraph 20 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained Paragraph 19 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained Paragraph 18 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained Paragraph 17 of the Complaint contains legal conclusions to which no response is To the extent a response is required, Defendants deny the allegations contained

SSI. Defendants were not aware of any other sources of assistance or income. Defendants are

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without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or deny the remainder of the allegations contained in Paragraph 21 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 22. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 22 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 23. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 23 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 24. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 24 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 25. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations relating to Plaintiff’s food support and benefits contained in Paragraph 25 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. Defendants admit that Mission Inn received certain vendored rent payments directly from Hennepin County on Plaintiff’s behalf. 26. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 26 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 27. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 27 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 28. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 28 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same.

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29.

Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 29 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 30. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 30 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same and further affirmatively allege that Plaintiff’s interest in a rental unit was communicated to Mission Inn in December 2013. 31. As to the allegations contained in Paragraph 31, Defendants admit meeting

Plaintiff to discuss rental of a 4-5 bedroom apartment but deny that such meeting took place on January 8, 2014, and affirmatively allege that Plaintiff’s interest in a rental unit was communicated to Mission Inn in December 2013. 32. As to the allegations contained in Paragraph 32, Defendants admit meeting with

Plaintiff to show the upper level of the duplex property but deny that such meeting took place on January 8, 2014, and affirmatively allege that Plaintiff met with Defendants on January 3, 2014 and submitted her rental application on that date. 33. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 33 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and affirmatively allege that Plaintiff’s application was faxed to Mission Inn on January 3, 2014, and further that the document speaks for itself. 34. Defendants admit only that once Plaintiff was approved to move in based upon

additional security provisions that were explained to her and she proposed a move in date for mid-January, Mission Inn contacted Xcel Energy to communicate the proposed move in date. It is then the responsibility of the tenant to follow up with the utility company by providing their personal information and verifying the start date of the lease. At any time during her lease,

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Plaintiff had the opportunity to verify the correct start date of her lease with the utility companies. 35. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 35 and affirmatively

allege that after receiving Plaintiff’s background check information on January 3, 2014, Mission Inn contacted Plaintiff to advise that it would be unable to rent to her due to her eviction history. Plaintiff pleaded with Defendants to give her a chance and rent to her. Mission Inn proposed a way to rebuild her rental history by providing her debit card as additional security for the payment of rent each month. Plaintiff was anxious to move in and promised to provide $2,000 for a security deposit and the first month rent to hold the unit for a planned mid-January move in. Plaintiff was not able to secure the $2,000 payment. Plaintiff notified Mission Inn that it could release the apartment to another prospective tenant since she could not obtain the funds needed to initiate the lease. Plaintiff then contacted Mission Inn later in January to inquire as to whether she would be able to rent under the same terms and conditions beginning in February. 36. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 36 and affirmatively

allege that by January 24, 2014, Plaintiff had only provided $200 to Mission Inn despite her earlier promise to pay the full month rent along with a security deposit totaling $2,000 and proposing a January 15, 2014 move in date. On approximately January 24, 2014, Plaintiff provided $200 to Mission Inn to hold the apartment subject to the terms and conditions of her approval, specifically, paying $1,000 per month as rent and providing security for the payment. 37. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 37 and affirmatively

allege that Plaintiff was aware of all terms and conditions of her rental agreement prior to providing any monies to Mission Inn. 38. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 38 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the

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same and further affirmatively allege that Plaintiff made the choice to rent with Mission Inn. Due to her poor credit and rental history Mission Inn was unable to rent to her without security for payment of the rent. 39. Defendants admit that on or about February 1, 2014, more than 15 days after

Plaintiff initially agreed to take responsibility for the unit and finally paid the security deposit and provided security for rent payment, Defendants met with Plaintiff to give her the keys. 40. Defendants deny the allegations of Paragraph 40 and affirmatively allege that

Plaintiff was provided with the monthly rental amount and the condition of security for her rent payment both orally and in writing prior to February 1, 2014, and prior to her providing any monies to Mission Inn. 41. Defendants admit that Plaintiff signed her lease but deny the remaining

allegations of Paragraph 41. 42. Complaint. 43. Complaint. 44. Complaint. 45. Complaint. 46. Complaint. 47. With respect to Paragraph 47, Defendants admit that in accordance with the Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 46 of Plaintiff’s Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 45 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 44 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 43 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 42 of Plaintiff’s

Parties’ agreement and with full permission of Plaintiff, Defendants were given access to

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Plaintiff’s funds to pay rent. Similarly, in accordance with the Parties’ agreement, any funds in excess of rent due and owing were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 48. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 48 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and further affirmatively allege that the only amount paid to Mission Inn prior to February 1, 2014 was a $1,000 security deposit. February rent had not been paid by that time. On February 1, 2014, Mission Inn obtained payment for February’s rent. Defendants further allege that the only funds retained by Mission Inn from Plaintiff’s Direct Express account was $558 (together with the Hennepin County payment of $442 to equal $1,000), all other amounts were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 49. Complaint. 50. Complaint. 51. Complaint. 52. Complaint. 53. With respect to Paragraph 53, Defendants admit that in accordance with the Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 52 of Plaintiff’s Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 51 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 50 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 49 of Plaintiff’s

Parties’ agreement and with full permission of Plaintiff, Defendants were given access to Plaintiff’s funds to pay rent. Similarly, in accordance with the Parties’ agreement, any funds in excess of rent due and owing were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 54. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 54 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and further affirmatively allege that the only funds retained by Mission Inn from Plaintiff’s Direct Express account was $648 (together with the Hennepin County payment of

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$352 to equal $1,000), all other amounts were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 55. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 55 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 56. Complaint. 57. Complaint. 58. With respect to Paragraph 58, Defendants admit that in accordance with the Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 57 of Plaintiff’s Defendants admit the allegations contained in Paragraph 56 of Plaintiff’s

Parties’ agreement and with full permission of Plaintiff, Defendants were given access to Plaintiff’s funds to pay rent. Similarly, in accordance with the Parties’ agreement, any funds in excess of rent due and owing were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 59. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 59 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and further affirmatively allege that the only funds retained by Mission Inn from Plaintiff’s Direct Express account was $648 (together with the Hennepin County payment of $352 to equal $1,000), all other amounts were returned to Plaintiff within 24 hours of withdrawal. 60. Complaint. 61. Complaint. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 61 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 60 of Plaintiff’s

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62.

Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 62 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and affirmatively allege that Mission Inn inquired whether Plaintiff had received her new card and assumed from her responses that she intended to provide the card to Mission Inn. 63. Complaint. 64. Complaint. 65. With respect to Paragraph 65, Defendants admit only that Defendants became Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 64 of Plaintiff’s Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 63 of Plaintiff’s

aware that Plaintiff’s electricity was turned off during an exterior inspection of the unit. Plaintiff’s meter box had been locked by Xcel Energy due to nonpayment. However, it was apparent that Plaintiff broke the lock and exposed the inside of the meter in order to illegally gain access to power and creating a safety hazard. Xcel Energy then placed another lock onto the meter to prevent access. During a subsequent exterior inspection, Defendants noticed an extension cord running from Plaintiff’s window to the window of the tenant below in order to illegally access her neighbor’s power. Defendants deny the remaining allegations of Paragraph 65. 66. Defendants admit the allegations of Paragraph 66 and affirmatively allege that all

violations were repaired and Mission Inn’s rental license was renewed. 67. Defendants admit the allegations of Paragraph 67 and affirmatively allege that

due to Plaintiff continuing to reside in the unit without electricity, the City of Minneapolis sent Mission Inn a notice that the property could be condemned because of the lack of utilities. Pursuant to the terms of the lease, Plaintiff is responsible for the payment of gas and electric utilities. Therefore, Mission Inn communicated to Plaintiff that she needed to have the electricity turned on if she was going to continue residing in the unit.

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68.

With respect to Paragraph 68, Defendants admit that Plaintiff’s tenancy ended on

October 1, 2013, but deny that Plaintiff moved all of her remaining possessions out of the upper unit. Defendants affirmatively allege that Mission Inn has incurred fees and costs associated with storing certain belongings that were later picked up and in disposing of those belongings abandoned by Plaintiff. 69. Defendants are without sufficient knowledge or information to either admit or

deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 69 of Plaintiff’s Complaint, and therefore deny the same. 70. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 70 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 71. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 71 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 72. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 72 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 73. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 73 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 74. With respect to Paragraph 74, a response is not required. To the extent a response

is required, Defendants restate and incorporate Paragraphs 1-73 as if set forth fully herein. 75. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 75 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 76. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 76 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 77. With respect to Paragraph 77, a response is not required. To the extent a response

is required, Defendants restate and incorporate Paragraphs 1-76 as if set forth fully herein.

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78.

Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 78 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 79. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 79 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 80. With respect to Paragraph 80, a response is not required. To the extent a response

is required, Defendants restate and incorporate Paragraphs 1-79 as if set forth fully herein. 81. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 81 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 82. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 82 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 83. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 83 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 84. With respect to Paragraph 84, a response is not required. To the extent a response

is required, Defendants restate and incorporate Paragraphs 1-83 as if set forth fully herein. 85. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 85 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and further deny the implication that Plaintiff did not have control of her funds and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 86. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 86 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof. 87. Defendants deny the allegations contained in Paragraph 87 of Plaintiff’s

Complaint and put her to her strictest proof thereof.

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AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES 88. Defendants affirmatively state that the Plaintiff’s claim fails due to the affirmative

defenses of accord and satisfaction, failure of consideration, payment or release, laches, estoppel, set-off, recoupment, her own breaches or negligence. 89. Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to the extent it may be barred by the applicable

statute(s) of limitation. 90. discovered. 91. Plaintiff’s claims may be barred by any or all of the affirmative defenses Defendants reserve the right to assert additional affirmative defenses as they are

contemplated by Rule 8.03 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. To the extent that Plaintiff’s claims are barred by one or more of said affirmative defenses not specifically set out above, such defenses cannot be determined until there is further discovery. Defendants therefore incorporate all such affirmative defenses as set forth in Rule 8.03. COUNTERCLAIM Defendant, Mission Inn, as and for its Counterclaim, states and alleges as follows: 1. Pursuant to the lease between Mission Inn and Plaintiff, Plaintiff was to pay a

security deposit of $1,000 and rent of $1,000 per month. 2. were made. 3. Beginning in May 2013 and through September 2013, Plaintiff failed to make full Payments totaling $1,000 each for the months of February, March, and April 2013

monthly rental payments. 4. Specifically, Plaintiff’s MFIP County Assistance was the only payment received

in May 2013 in the amount of $352, leaving an unpaid amount of $648.

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5.

In June 2013, Plaintiff paid a total of $1,559, bringing the total outstanding rent

due to $89 as of June 30, 2013. 6. In July 2013, Plaintiff’s MFIP County Assistance was the only payment received

in the amount of $352, leaving the total outstanding amount due of $737 as of July 31, 2013. 7. In August, Plaintiff paid $648 in addition to the MFIP County Assistance in the

amount of $352, leaving the total outstanding amount due of $737 as of August 31, 2013. 8. In September, Plaintiff’s MFIP County Assistance was the only payment received

in the amount of $352, leaving the total outstanding amount due of $1,385 as of September 31, 2013. 9. Pursuant to the terms of the lease, late fees in the amount of 8% on any

outstanding rent is due and owing. 10. 11. 12. As of April 18, 2014, the total late fee due and owing from Plaintiff is $240. Plaintiff caused damage, beyond ordinary wear and tear, to the unit. Mission Inn incurred costs totaling $1,250 to clean and repair the unit including,

but not limited to, the electrical meter box, a window, carpeting and other cleaning, and to store Plaintiff’s belongings. 13. Inn. 14. 15. Plaintiff breached the terms of the lease. Mission Inn has engaged counsel and has incurred attorney’s fees and costs as a Plaintiff allowed others to reside in the property without permission from Mission

result of Plaintiff’s breach of contract. WHEREFORE, Defendants pray for an Order from this Court as follows: a. Dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint with prejudice;

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b. Ordering Judgment against Plaintiff and in favor of Defendants for breach of the parties lease in the approximate amount of $2,834, with the exact amount to be proven at trial; c. Ordering Judgment against Plaintiff to include Defendants’ costs, disbursements and attorney fees incurred herein. d. Such further relief as the Court deems just and equitable. MORRISON SUND PLLC /s/ Kerry A. Trapp ______________________________________ Bradley J. Ayers (0189303) Kerry A. Trapp (0315382) 5125 County Road 101, Suite 200 Minnetonka, MN 55345 (952) 975-0050 (phone) (952) 975-0058 (fax) ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS PAUL BERTELSON AND MISSION INN MINNESOTA, INC.

Dated: April 21, 2014
The undersigned hereby acknowledges that sanctions may be awarded pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 549.211.

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