FACTSIn 2006, respondent Midland Credit Management (Midland) obtained a money judgment against appellant Eldridge Chatman. In 2008, Chatman suffered personal injuries and commenced a lawsuit. In 2009, Chatman settled the lawsuit and deposited the settlement proceeds into his bank account. In 2010, Midland garnished Chatman‟s bank account. In response to the garnishment, Chatman filed a notice of exemption, asserting that because the money in the account constituted proceeds of the personal injury settlement, it represented “[r]ights of action for injuries to the person of the debtor” and was exempt from creditors‟ claims under Minn. Stat. § 550.37, subd. 22. Midland objected to the exemption claim. The district court determined that personal-injury-settlement proceeds are not exempt. This appeal follows.
ISSUEDoes Minn. Stat. § 550.37, subd. 22 exempt proceeds from the settlement of a personal-injury action from creditor claims?
ANALYSISThis court reviews de novo questions of statutory interpretation. Molde v. Citimortgage, Inc., 781 N.W.2d 36, 39 (Minn. App. 2010). Words and phrases are interpreted according to their common meaning. Minn. Stat. § 645.08 (2010); ILHC of Eagan, LLC v. County of Dakota, 693 N.W.2d 412, 419 (Minn. 2005). “Where the legislature‟s intent is clearly discernable from plain and unambiguous language, statutory construction is neither necessary nor permitted and we apply the statute‟s plain meaning.” Hans Hagen Homes, Inc. v. City of Minnetrista, 728 N.W.2d 536, 539 (Minn. 2007); see also Minn. Stat. § 645.16 (2010) (directing that, when the language of a statute is “clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of the law shall not be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing the spirit”).
Judge(s): David Minge
Jurisdiction: Minnesota Court of Appeals
|Court of Appeals Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Michael Kemp||MET Law Group, PLLC|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Jefferson Pappas||Messerli & Kramer PA|
|Derrick Weber||Messerli & Kramer PA|