Whether in Duluth or Hugo or Blaine, in a residential real estate transaction the seller must disclose the material facts of which the seller has "personal knowledge". One fun(?) but certainly interesting aspect of the law is defining what certain phrases mean; in this case, what does "personal knowledge" mean?
The Minnesota Court of Appeals just determined that a material question of fact exists about whether a seller had personal knowledge of a material fact. The source of the personal knowledge? The seller had conversations with neighbors. Those neighbors stated the subject home had a history of drug, and perhaps even meth, use and production. The seller had checked with the local police department, but the alleged history was not specifically confirmed.
The seller proceeded to deny any personal knowledge about meth use or production at the house. The seller even prevailed on his summary judgment motion. The Court of Appeals noted though that the district court was confused on the claims made by the plaintiff (a troubling notation for sure as that means the lawyers failed to clearly present the case or the judge failed to properly take the time to understand the case, or both). In reversing the district court the appellate court declared personal knowledge can be arrived at via conversations with others who purport to have knowledge. That is, you do not need to personally experience the fact in order to have personal knowledge of that fact.
This seems to contradict what personal knowledge is. In this case, it seems personal knowledge is really just personal knowledge of what the neighbors' opinions and beliefs are about the house.
The law continues to evolve in contracts, transactions, and meanings. If you're not up to date on the most recent, call on someone who is. A good, effective review and consult is worth the time compared to the cost of a mistake.