A long-contested dock case landed before the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Thursday, Jan. 30 in St. Paul.

The case involves Waconia residents Jayson and Cristine Dock, who filed an appeal July 16, 2019, to a ruling a district court judge handed down May 2 over a dock the city of Waconia said violates its ordinance (No. 707) prohibiting the construction of permanent docks on lake/wetland lots within the city. The dock in question was erected in 2017.

In legal action, the city sought a permanent injunction against the Docks and asked for judgment ordering removal of what has been constructed. In its May ruling, the district court ruled in favor of the city, calling the ordinance valid and ordering that the dock be removed.

In hearing documents presented to the appeals court, the Docks’ legal counsel continues to contest the validity of the ordinance arguing that it is “flawed” and “illegally implemented” because the city did not comply with all applicable statutory requirements. The appeal also argues that the city may not enforce the ordinance because the dock in question is “neither a permanent dock or a seasonal dock.”

The appellants’ reply brief also asserts a remand of vested rights defense over whether the dock was substantially completed at the time the law was changed. And finally, an argument that the Docks’ abuse of process claim is valid and that the city held an ulterior motive in its proceedings.

In its response brief requesting the appeals court affirm the district court order, the city’s legal counsel argues that the city properly enacted Ordinance 707 pursuant to Minnesota statute, pointing to specific statutory city powers for establishing harbor and dock limits, and that appellants have constructed and are maintaining a permanent dock in violation of the ordinance.

The respondent’s brief also argues that the appellants waived any affirmative defense of vested rights in an earlier move for summary judgment on all claims and that issue is not properly before the court. And finally, that their abuse of process claim is barred by statutory and official immunity.

The appeals court has 90 days to rule on the matter.

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