This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
William Roger Henricksen, claimant,
Kent L. Henricksen,
Conrad M. Fredin,
Filed May 2, 2000
Toussaint, Chief Judge
St. Louis County District Court
†File No. C197602374
William D. Paul, 1217 East First Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for appellant)
Kent L. Henricksen, 314 East Superior Street, and 1222 East First Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (Pro se respondent)
Robin C. Merritt, Hanft Fride, P.A., 1000 U.S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent Conrad M. Fredin)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Randall, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D† O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant William R. Henricksen sued respondents Kent L. Henricksen and Conrad M. Fredin, alleging he was damaged by respondentsí attempt to execute on a judgment against appellantís relatives by levying on appellantís property.† Claiming respondents failed to show any prejudice, appellant challenges the judgment dismissing his lawsuit for failure to comply with a discovery order.† Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellantís request for an amended scheduling order and dismissing the lawsuit, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
A trial courtís decision to dismiss a plaintiffís case on procedural grounds is an exercise of the trial courtís discretionary authority.† Firoved v. General Motors Corp., 277 Minn. 278, 282-83, 152 N.W.2d 364, 368 (1967). †This court will not reverse a trial courtís dismissal of an action for procedural irregularities unless the trial court abused its discretion.† Sorenson v. St. Paul Ramsey Med. Ctr., 457 N.W.2d 188, 190 (Minn. 1990).† The appellant bears the burden of convincing this court that no reasonable person would agree with the trial courtís determination of what sanction was appropriate.† Patton v. Newmar Corp., 538 N.W.2d 116, 119 (Minn. 1995) (describing difficult burden of proving abuse of discretion).
The trial court has authority to dismiss a claim for failure to comply with a discovery order.† See Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.02(b)(3) (permitting courts to dismiss action in whole or part for failure to obey discovery order).† A trial court is justified in dismissing a claim when a party willfully fails to comply with a discovery order without justification or excuse.† Breza v. Schmitz, 311 Minn. 236, 237, 248 N.W.2d 921, 922 (1976).†
The record shows: (1) when the original discovery period ended on July 15, 1998, appellant had not cooperated in discovery; (2) the trial court issued an order on July 20, 1998, requiring appellant to provide complete answers to interrogatories and produce requested documents within 30 days of the order; (3) the order warned that failure to comply could result in dismissal of appellantís complaint; (4) that same week, appellantís attorney withdrew; (5) appellant hired his present attorney and was made aware of the discovery order the week of July 27, 1998; (6) appellant was aware of the trial courtís order for more than 40 days before the dismissal hearing on September 11, 1998, but instead of complying, appellant attempted to argue the relevance of the discovery requests at the hearing.† Despite appellantís attempt to blame his situation on his previous counsel, the facts show appellant hired his present attorney and knew about the trial courtís order well within the time allotted for compliance.† Therefore, his disobedience was willful and without excuse.† Under these circumstances, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing appellantís lawsuit.
The trial court also acted within its discretion in denying appellantís motion to amend the scheduling order to extend time for discovery.† See Shetka v. Kueppers, Kueppers, Von Feldt & Salmen, 454 N.W.2d 916, 921 (Minn. 1990) (stating appellate courts will not disturb discovery orders absent clear abuse of discretion). †Because appellant was not diligent in his discovery efforts prior to the summary judgment motion and failed to indicate any material facts he expected to discover if granted additional time, denial was appropriate.† See Rice v. Perl, 320 N.W.2d 407, 412 (Minn. 1982) (granting continuance only when appellant was diligent in seeking discovery prior to summary judgment motion and was acting with good-faith belief that material facts would be discovered); Bolton v. Department of Human Serv., 527 N.W.2d 149, 153 (Minn. App. 1995) (same), revíd on other grounds, 540 N.W.2d 523 (Minn. 1995).