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Paying out claims

Published (3/28/2008)
By Mike Cook
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A couple facing an assessment on their property for a problem they didn’t create may get state help.

Theirs is one of four claims against the state totaling $86,657 that the Joint House-Senate Subcommittee on Claims recommends be paid. The subcommittee decides whether to pay claims against the state by persons who cannot proceed under the State Tort Claims Act. It also handles claims that cannot be litigated. The subcommittee heard more than 50 potential claims.

Sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ozment (R-Rosemount), HF3360 was approved March 27 by the House Finance Committee and sent to the House Ways and Means Committee. A companion bill, SF3021, sponsored by Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), awaits action by the full Senate.

Construction on the Inver Grove Heights home of John and Judy McEachran began in 2004, but was quickly halted when debris containing asbestos was unearthed. The debris came from a bridge that was demolished by the Department of Transportation and legally dumped on the site.

Dakota County removal of the material cost approximately $143,000. A fund from the Pollution Control Agency contributed $60,000 and the city kicked in $15,000. This bill would award the McEachran’s $67,005 from the state. “Payment of the claim is not an admission of liability on the part of the State of Minnesota for these costs,” the bill states.

Other claims in the bill are:

• $11,905 to Robert Burton for permanent injuries suffered while performing work as an inmate at the Moose Lake correctional facility;

• $3,737 for sentence-to-service claims under $500 each and other claims already paid by the Corrections Department;

• $2,005 from the General Fund and $1,000 from the petroleum tank release cleanup fund to reimburse a Roseville couple for costs related to a mistaken order to search for an unsealed well on their property; and

• $1,005 to Minogheezhig Sandman-Shelifoe for loss of property caused by staff errors at the Rush City correctional facility.

Senior Assistant Revisor Craig Lindeke said it costs $5 to file a claim, and instead of taking a lengthy process to get their filing fee back if a claim is successful, it was included in the award amount.

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