This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Steven J. Rindahl, et al.,
Filed July 11, 2000
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C1969476
Mark Valdemar Steffenson, Henningson & Snoxell, 6160 Summit Drive, Suite 640, Minneapolis, MN 55430 (for respondent)
Christopher Voligny, 910 Carla Lane, Little Canada, MN 55109 (appellant pro se)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant challenges the district court order granting respondent’s Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 motion to vacate an order and judgment mistakenly entered by the district court. Because we see no abuse of discretion in the vacation, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Respondents Steven A. Rindahl and Graphic Homes, Inc., brought this action against appellant Christopher Voligny to recover an amount allegedly owing from the dissolution of a joint venture. Following a January 1998 bench trial, the district court in February 1998 inadvertently signed and entered appellant’s proposed findings of fact, order, and order for judgment dismissing respondents’ claim (the February documents). Unaware that this had been done, the district court in April 1998 signed and sent the parties the correct findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment against appellant and for respondents (the April documents). Appellant notified the court of the existence of the February documents and the discrepancy between the February documents and the April documents.
The district court then wrote to the parties explaining and apologizing for the error in signing and distributing the February documents and, sua sponte, issued an amended findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment vacating the February documents. Judgment for respondents, pursuant to the April documents, was entered in June 1998; appellant challenged that judgment in this court in July 1998.
In an order opinion, this court vacated the judgment and remanded, because the district court had lacked jurisdiction to vacate without a motion from one of the parties. Respondents then moved under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 for an order amending the judgment. Following a hearing, the motion was granted, the district court vacated the February documents and again entered judgment pursuant to the April documents.
Absent an abuse of discretion, a reviewing court will uphold the district court’s decision to vacate a judgment under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02. Meyer v. Best Western Seville Plaza Hotel, 562 N.W. 2d 690, 694 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. June 26, 1997).
Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 provides in relevant part:
On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party * * * from a final judgment * * * and may order a new trial or grant such other relief as may be just for the following reasons:
(a) Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
* * * *
The motion shall be made * * * not more than 1 year after the judgment * * * was entered or taken. A Rule 60.02 motion does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation.
The district court clearly acknowledged its mistake and inadvertence, bringing the matter under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(a).
Appellant argues first that respondents cannot obtain relief because their motion was not brought until May 1999, more than one year after the February 1998 judgment. But respondents could not have brought a Rule 60.02 motion between July 24, 1998, when appellant deprived the district court of jurisdiction by filing his first notice of appeal, and April 14, 1999, thirty days after this court released its opinion. See Spaeth v. City of Plymouth, 344 N.W. 2d 815, 824 (Minn. 1984) (“Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 108.03 provides that the perfection of an appeal ‘shall stay all further proceedings in the trial court upon the judgment or order appealed from * * *.’”).
Appellant also relies on Chapman v. Special Sch. Dist. No. 1, 454 N.W. 2d 921, 923 (Minn. 1990) (holding that a motion based on excusable neglect is not timely if it is brought more than one year after entry of an order for dismissal even if the ground for the delay is reasonable). But Chapman is distinguishable for three reasons: in Chapman (1) the motion was not brought until three years after the dismissal; (2) no appeal tolling the Rule 60.02 one year limitation had been filed; and (3) the party’s excusable neglect was due not to a mistake of the district court, but to the party’s attorney, who said the action was proceeding in a timely fashion when it had in fact been dismissed. Id.
Given that the period from July 24, 1998, until April 14, 1999, tolled the one-year limit for moving to vacate under Rule 60.02, respondents’ May 1999 motion was timely and they are entitled to relief because of the district court’s acknowledged mistake and inadvertence.