Skip to main content

City Attorney's Office

Mission statement

To enhance public safety and quality of life for Bloomington residents through fair and effective prosecution of crimes and civil administrative offenses occurring in the community, to protect the City's assets by proactively providing timely and effective legal counsel to the City, its elected officials, staff and boards and commissions, and to assist in the vigorous defense of claims brought or threatened against the City, all in a highly cost-effective, collaborative, and focused manner.

Where to call for assistance

Need an attorney?

  • Lawyer Referral and Information Service - 612-752-6666;
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Legal Aid Society - 612-334-5970
  • Legal Rights Center - 612-337-0030
  • Volunteer Lawyer Network - 612-752-6677

Problems with a business?

  • Better Business Bureau - 651-699-1111
  • Attorney General - Consumer Protection - 651-296-3353

Need mediation?

  • Minneapolis Mediation Program - 612-822-9883

State Laws and Consumer Protection?

  • Minnesota Attorney General
    • General info: 651-296-6196
    • Consumer Protection: 651-296-3353

Housing problems?

  • Minnesota Tenants Union - 612-871-7485
  • Minnesota Multi-Housing Association - 952-854-8500
  • Landlord-Tenant Resources - 612-341-9003

Discrimination?

  • Minnesota Department of Human Rights - 651-296-6107

Labor dispute?

  • Minnesota Department of Labor - 651-296-6107
  • National Labor Relations Board - 612-348-1757

Need a restraining order?

  • Hennepin County Restraining Orders - 612-348-5073

General duties

The City Attorney's Office is responsible for the prosecution of non-felony cases committed by adults occurring in the City. The City Attorney's Office also provides legal representation and general counsel services to all City departments, the City Council, and all City boards and commissions. The City Attorney is Melissa Manderschied. The City Attorney is assisted by four full-time Assistant City Attorneys in the Criminal Division, two full-time Assistant City Attorneys in the Civil Division and the City's Risk and Litigation Manager. In addition, the Office is supported by a Crime Victim Liaison, an Office Manager/Paralegal, a Civil Paralegal, two Legal Administrative Assistants and an Office Assistant.

The City Attorney's Office does not provide legal advice or representation in private legal matters.

Criminal Division

The Assistant City Attorneys handling criminal prosecution appear in Hennepin County District Court, generally at the Southdale Division IV Court located at 7009 York Avenue South, Edina, 612-348-2040. If a case is contested and a jury trial demanded, the trial is normally conducted downtown at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. Typical misdemeanor offenses include driving under the influence of alcohol, domestic assault, violation of orders for protection, simple assault, trespassing, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, theft or damage to property where the value of the property is less than $1000, careless and reckless driving, and petty traffic offenses.

All felony level offenses are handled by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, 612-348-5550, www.hennepinattorney.org.

All juvenile matters are handled by the Hennepin County Juvenile Division, 612-348-7916. If the juvenile offense is either a petty misdemeanor or DWI, the Bloomington City Attorney's Office will prosecute.

Civil Division

The Assistant City Attorneys work with the City Attorney to provide legal advice and services to the City's elected officials, various City departments and all City boards and commissions. These matters include:

  • Drafting City ordinances, policies, procedures, and some state legislation, that are capable of fair and even-handed enforcement and which provide clear direction to residents and businesses of their rights and responsibilities;
  • Communicating with City residents and businesses, where there appears to be a property management problem that could potentially involve enforcement actions against them, to identify best practices and other solutions to achieve long-term compliance with applicable laws;
  • Drafting written legal opinions and training materials to advise and guide the City’s elected officials, supervisors and volunteer commission and board members with respect to the state and federal statutory and constitutional provisions relating to the performance of their job duties;
  • Reviewing and drafting City employment rules and policies in a manner that provides clear notice to employees of their rights and responsibilities, complies with all applicable state and federal laws and promotes the City’s mission to be a productive organization of providing quality services;
  • Applying the City and State land use and zoning laws to specific cases;
  • Negotiating and structuring public financing for public infrastructure essential to large scale private developments that will increase the City’s tax base and job force;
  • Negotiating and finalizing City real estate transactions by mutually agreed upon terms of sale or acquisition or by eminent domain;
  • Enforcing the City and State Building, Health and Sanitation Codes, including the declaration of premises as unfit for human habitation, removal of hazardous buildings, the temporary closure of pools or restaurants where conditions threaten the public's health;
  • Negotiating, drafting and reviewing all City contracts, development agreements and professional service agreements;
  • Negotiating telecommunications agreements and other private requests to use City property or right-of-way.
  • Enforcing City and State licensing laws;
  • Participating in the defense of all civil claims against the City in state and federal courts.

Frequently asked questions

FAQ - General

Does the City Attorney’s Office represent private individuals?

No. The City Attorney’s Office exists to serve the municipal corporation that is the City of Bloomington, as well as its elected officials, staff and boards and commissions. It does not provide legal advice or representation in private legal matters. Individuals with private legal disputes, issues or questions should contact a private attorney. Lawyer referral services can be found at Minnesota Courts, the Hennepin County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, 612-752-6666 and Minnesota Find a Lawyer.

How do I file a claim against the City?

Contact the Risk and Litigation Manager at 952-563-4932. Typical claims include property damage caused by a squad car, snow plow or other City vehicle.

How do I file a complaint against the Bloomington Police Department?

The City Attorney's Office does not oversee any of the operations of the Police Department. Complainants should contact the Police Commander of Professional Standards, 952-563-4900, to request an investigation.

How can I address private trespass issues such as intruding tree branches, fallen trees or branches, snow placement, fence placement or other boundary issues

These are private property disputes between neighbors that are not regulated by City ordinance. The City Attorney cannot advise or represent you in this type of matter and you need to contact private legal counsel. Lawyer referral services can be found at Minnesota Courts, the Hennepin County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, 612-752-6666 and Minnesota Find a Lawyer.

FAQ - crime victims and witnesses

I'm the victim of a domestic assault. Is there someone I can call for help?

Call the Police Department at 9-1-1 for emergencies or 952-563-4900 for non-emergencies. A valuable resource for Bloomington residents is Cornerstone Advocacy Service 952-884-0330 (24 hours)/ 1-866-223-1111 (crisis line). Cornerstone provides services to crime victims, such as emergency and transitional housing, advocacy for victims of domestic assault, services for children, and help with obtaining restraining orders.

Someone has committed a crime against me. What is the legal process?

The City Attorney’s Office cannot prosecute criminal charges without a police report. First, file a police report with the Bloomington Police Department. If it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency matters call 952-563-4900. If the Police Department determines that there is sufficient evidence that an offense has been committed, the Police Department will forward the report to either the City Attorney's Office (gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor-level crimes) or the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (felony-level and juvenile crimes). Depending on the circumstances of the case, either a citation or a criminal complaint may be issued. If the defendant is charged, Hennepin County District Court will assign the defendant with a court date. 

If the case is forwarded to the City Attorney's Office for charging and you wish to provide input or make a restitution request, please call 952-563-8753 and ask to speak with the Crime Victim Liaison.

The defendant's first appearance before the court is called an arraignment. The defendant will be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty to the offense.

If the defendant pleads not guilty, a new court date will be assigned for either a court trial or pretrial, depending on the type of offense. If a pretrial date is assigned, the victim of the offense will be contacted by the Crime Victim Liaison. The victim will be asked to provide pertinent information about the crime, its impact on the victim and any restitution requests. The victim is not required to appear at the pretrial. 

At the pretrial, if the defendant pleads not guilty, a date for a settlement conference and jury trial will be assigned. At this time, the victim and all witnesses will receive notices or subpoenas to appear in court. A subpoena legally requires a victim or witness to appear in court on the specified date and time. The notice will ask that the victim/witnesses contact the Crime Victim Liaison prior to the court date. 

Jury trials are conducted downtown at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis. 

How do I get a domestic order for protection (“OFP”)?

An OFP is a court order that a victim of domestic abuse by a family or household member can apply for to prohibit the abuser from future contact or abuse.

If you are a Bloomington resident, call Cornerstone Advocacy Service, 952-884-0330. Non-Bloomington residents can call the Domestic Abuse Service Center at 612-348-5073. Cornerstone provides services to crime victims, such as emergency and transitional housing, advocacy for victims of domestic assault, services for children, and help with obtaining restraining orders. 

How do I get a harassment restraining order (“HRO”)?

An HRO is a court order that a victim of harassment by another person, who is not a household or family member, can apply for to prohibit that person from having any contact with the victim and to prohibit future harassment.

Call Cornerstone Advocacy Service's general crime victim services line, 612-767-9844. Cornerstone provides services to crime victims, such as emergency and transitional housing, advocacy for victims of domestic assault, services for children, and help with obtaining restraining orders. 

Additional resources are available at the Self-Help Center on the 2nd floor, Public Service Level, of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, located at 300 South 6th Street. This is a walk-in service only that does not take appointments. There you will find the necessary court forms. 

How do I obtain information about my participation in a criminal case as a witness or victim?

You will receive in the mail a letter from the Crime Victim Liaison advising you of an upcoming court date on the case, should you wish to attend. That letter will also indicate the procedure by which you may seek restitution for any property damage or other out-of-pocket financial loss you suffered as a crime victim. Restitution requests must be submitted in writing and must be received at least three days prior to the court date with verification of the costs being claimed. Restitution requests will be presented to the presiding judge who can then choose to award restitution, in full or in part, or decline to order the defendant to pay restitution. Further information can be obtained by calling 952-563-8753 and asking for the Crime Victim Liaison. 

How do I respond to a subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order requiring you to appear in court on the date and time stated in the document. If you fail to respond to the subpoena you may be subject to arrest. If you need to discuss scheduling options, call 952-563-8753 and ask for the Crime Victim Liaison.

FAQ - neighborhood quality-of-life issues

How do I report nuisance conduct or conditions on my neighbor’s property?

For cases where your neighbor has an accumulation of junk or abandoned vehicles on his or her property, buildings with dilapidated conditions, long weeds or brush accumulations or a home business you need to contact the City’s Environmental Health Services Division at 952-563-8934 or envhealth@BloomingtonMN.gov with the property’s address, the problems you observed and optional contact information. Your complaint will remain anonymous.

How do I respond to an administrative citation?

When you receive a citation, you must respond within 25 calendar days. You have two options: (1) pay the amount of the fine listed on the citation and correct the violation; or (2) contact the City Attorney’s office at (952) 563-8753 to request mediation and a hearing. If you do nothing, you are admitting that you violated the City ordinance and the fine will be increased by a 10% late fee. That amount will be charged against your real property in the manner of an assessment, along with interest thereon. In addition, the City may bring criminal charges against you or file a civil action against you. If you do not correct a continuing violation, even if you pay the amount of the fine, the City may issue a second citation and/or take other action to achieve compliance with the ordinances.

How can I get help in resolving an on-going dispute with my neighbor, such as animal control issues, private trespass issues or other nuisances that do not qualify as a criminal offense or City code violation?

The City is a contributing member of the Conflict Resolution Center which provides mediation services aimed at resolving these types of neighborhood disputes. You may directly contact the Conflict Resolution Center by email at mediation@crcminnesota.org, fax: 612-822-9890, or mail: Conflict Resolution Center, 2101 Hennepin Ave. S, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55405. Further assistance can be provided through the Bloomington Police Department Proactive Police Services Unit at 952-563-4900.

FAQ - criminal defendants

What should I do in response to a traffic ticket?

You can either pay the traffic citation or set up a court hearing to contest the citation.  If you wish to contest the citation, contact the number listed on the citation.  More information is available at Minnesota Courts. The City Attorney’s Office does not discuss or negotiate traffic cases outside of the courtroom.

How do I find out if there's a warrant against me?

Call the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, 612-348-2000.

What should I do if I missed, or need to continue, my court date?

The City Attorney’s office cannot change existing court dates for you or quash or invalidate a warrant. To find out if you have missed a court date or to continue a court date you must call the Hennepin County Clerk of Court at 612-348-2040. If you have missed your court date, it is likely that a warrant for your arrest (a bench warrant) was issued by the judge. Contact the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, 612-348-2000. If you are charged with a crime and given a court date, even if you live outside of Minnesota or the metropolitan area, you will need to appear in court on the date your court appearance is scheduled or arrange to have a private attorney appear on your behalf.

How do I get a copy of a police report, accident report or other discovery in a criminal case?

If you are a defendant or defense attorney in a criminal case that has been charged or is being prosecuted by the City Attorney’s Office, you must make a written request for these documents to the Bloomington City Attorney’s Office, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55431. Include the date, time and location of the offense, your name, address and telephone number. The City Attorney’s Office requires prepayment of between $5- $20 (dependent on the type and level of offense) for the cost of providing these reports. DVD’s of police recordings will cost $40.

How do I have my criminal conviction expunged?

Go to the Self-Help Center on the 2nd floor, Public Service Level, of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, located at 300 South 6th Street. This is a walk-in service only that does not take appointments. There you will find the necessary court forms to obtain an expungement. You may also access the Court’s website for expungement information.

How do I get my property back from the police?

Contact the Bloomington Police Department at 952-563-8843. You will have to make an appointment with the police property clerk. Property held as evidence in a criminal case will not be released until the case is completely concluded. Property subject to state forfeiture laws will only be released in compliance with those laws at the discretion of the police department. Some property may be subject to confiscation if it constitutes contraband, which is property that is illegal to own or possess in the state.

How do I speak with the prosecutor about my criminal case?

The City Attorney’s Office does not discuss or negotiate criminal cases prior to the court appearance or outside of the courtroom. If you are a criminal defendant or defense attorney, you must appear in court when your case is scheduled and request to speak with the prosecutor at that time.