Owner Entitled to Meaningful Access of Landlocked Property

Minnesota case law summary: Cartway for access, Minn. Stat. 164.08.

Kennedy v. Pepin Township of Wabasha County. MN TOPIC

The owner of a landlocked parcel of land petitioned for cartway pursuant to Minn. Stat. 164.08. The parcel consisted of 20 acres steeply sloped bluff, and 5 buildable acres on top of bluff. The township granted acartway to lower 20 acre parcel, but refused to allow separate access to the top of the bluff. Dissatisfied, the landowner appealed.

The Minnesota Supreme Court, Meyer, J., held that the Township's action did not provide “meaningful access” to the property. Therefore, the landowner was entitled to access to the “usable” portion of land. The Supreme Court remanded for township to determine a route. In doing so, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, which had established a location for the cartway.

No. A08-1921, 784 N.W.2d 378 (Minn. July 15, 2010).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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