This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






In Re the Matter of:


Tally Ann Rowan, petitioner,





Todd James Moeller,



Filed April 3, 2001

Affirmed as modified

Shumaker, Judge


Dakota County District Court

File No. F6007077




Tally Ann Rowan, 264 Burnsville Circle, Burnsville, MN 55306 (pro se appellant)


James C. Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney, Lisa D. Kontz, Assistant County Attorney, Dakota County Judicial Center, 1560 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033 (for Dakota County)


Todd James Moeller, 14655 Cimarron Avenue West, Rosemount, MN 55068 (pro se respondent)


Considered and decided by Judge Randall, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N



In this child-support proceeding, pro se appellant-mother alleges that (a) the county did not file a timely response to her request for review; (b) the support order overstates the obligor’s ability to pay support; and (c) the support order incorrectly orders reimbursement because she had already reimbursed the county for her child’s use of public assistance.  We affirm as modified.


Dakota County moved a magistrate to establish medical and child support under Minn. Stat. §§ 256.87 (1998), 518.551 (1998), 518.171 (1998), and 257.75 (1998), for J.R.M., the minor child of appellant Tally Ann Rowan and respondent Todd James Moeller.  Rowan and Moeller signed a Minnesota Recognition of Parentage for J.R.M. in 1996.  J.R.M. resides with Rowan.

            At the time of the hearing, Moeller was not employed, but he had worked at various times and has earned between $7 and $20 an hour.  Moeller testified at the hearing that he had no good reason for not working full time.  The child support magistrate found that Moeller was voluntarily unemployed and that he had the ability to earn $7 an hour at full-time employment. 

            Rowan has received public assistance in the form of cash payments since March 1, 1998.  From March 1, 1998, through March 31, 2000, she received assistance, including medical benefits, of $19,016.

            Moeller was incarcerated for three months during the time that Rowan was receiving public assistance.  The magistrate found that during this time Moeller did not have the ability to support J.M.R.

            Upon all these facts, the magistrate ordered Moeller to pay $208 per month as ongoing child support, commencing June 1, 2000, and continuing each month thereafter, and $50 per month as ongoing medical support.  The issues of child-care contributions and unreimbursed medical and dental expenses were reserved.

            The magistrate granted the county judgment in the amount of $6,450 for reimbursement of past support for the period of March 1, 1998, through May 31, 2000, and ordered Moeller to make monthly payments of $25 toward the judgment, beginning June 1, 2000.

Rowan filed a motion for district court review, challenging several of the magistrate’s findings.  The district court affirmed the magistrate’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order for judgment without modification.  Rowan challenges that order on appeal.


The first issue Rowan raises is that Dakota County did not file a timely response to her motion for review at the district court level. 

“A responding party may, but is not required to, respond to a motion for review.”  Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 372.02, subd. 2.  To respond, the party must file its original response with the court administrator within 30 days of the date the court administrator served that party with the notice of filing of order and notice of entry of judgment.  Id.

The parties received notice of filing of the magistrate’s order on June 2, 2000.  Rowan filed a timely motion for review.  The county was required to respond to this motion, if it wished, on or before July 5, 2000, as computed by the court administrator.  See Minn. R. Gen. Prac. 370.03, subd. 3 (requiring court administrator to perform the computation and specify resulting date in notice).  The county did not file or serve its response until July 6, 2000.  But the district court order affirming the magistrate’s award states that the court considered the county’s response anyway.

Despite the county’s late response, Rowan has not suffered any prejudice.  Dakota County did not raise any new arguments in its response.  Therefore, it was not inappropriate for the district court to consider Dakota County’s response to Rowan’s motion.  See, e.g., Kabanuk Diversified Invs., Inc. v. Credit Gen. Ins. Co., 553 N.W.2d 65, 69 (Minn. App. 1996) (district court may consider a response to summary judgment filed nine days late where party did not raise any new arguments), review denied (Minn. Oct. 28, 1996).


Next, Rowan challenges a number of the magistrate’s findings of fact, but she has not supplied this court with a transcript of the proceedings so that we can conduct a review.  Generally, this court will not set aside findings of fact unless clearly erroneous.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.  But when a party fails to provide a transcript, this court’s review is limited to whether the conclusions of law are supported by the findings of fact.  Duluth Herald & News Tribune v. Plymouth Optical Co., 286 Minn. 495, 498, 176 N.W.2d 552, 555 (1970).

a.         Voluntary unemployment/ADHD

Rowan asks this court to amend the magistrate’s findings of fact to state that Moeller has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that this condition makes it difficult for him to maintain full-time employment.  Although Dakota County has not challenged Rowan’s standing to raise this issue, we must nevertheless address the question of standing.  See, e.g., Patzner v. Schaefer, 551 N.W.2d 736 (Minn. App. 1996) (stating “The question of standing is not subject to waiver * * *: we are required to address the issue even if the courts below have not passed on it, and even if the parties fail to raise the issue before us.”) (quoting United States v. Hays, 115 S. Ct. 2431, 2435 (1995)) (internal quotation omitted); see also Cochrane v. Tudor Oaks Condominium Project, 529 N.W.2d 429, 433 (Minn. App. 1995) (stating that “[s]tanding may be raised at any time.”).

An appellant must have standing for this court to exercise jurisdiction.  State by McClure v. Sports & Health Club, Inc., 370 N.W.2d 844, 850 (Minn. 1985); In re Custody of E.A.Q.D. & T.L.D., 405 N.W.2d 262, 264 (Minn. App. 1987); cf. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 2136 (1992) (stating that plaintiff must have standing for federal courts to exercise jurisdiction under U.S. Const. art. III).

[T]he fundamental aspect of standing is that it focuses on the party seeking to get his complaint before a * * * court and not on the issues he wishes to have adjudicated.


Sundberg v. Abbott, 423 N.W.2d 686, 688 (Minn. App. 1988) (quoting Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 99, 88 S. Ct. 1942, 1952, (1968)) (emphasis omitted), review denied (Minn. June 29, 1988).  Thus, to have standing, Rowan must have "a sufficient stake in a justiciable controversy to seek relief."  Leffler v. Leffler, 602 N.W.2d 420, 422 (Minn. App. 1999) (citation omitted).  A justiciable controversy exists where there is a "genuine conflict in the tangible interests of opposing litigants."  Id. (quoting Izaak Walton League of Am. Endowment, Inc. v. State, Dep't of Natural Resources, 312 Minn. 587, 589, 252 N.W.2d 852, 854 (1977)).

            Rowan does not have standing to challenge the referee’s findings as to Moeller’s ADHD and his inability to hold a full-time job.  Rowan is not aggrieved by these findings nor are the findings in conflict with any of Rowan’s interests in the case.  The findings result in an increase, rather than a decrease, of the amount in child support Rowan will receive.  Because Rowan lacks standing to challenge findings that confer a benefit to her, we need not reach the substantive merits of the challenge.

            b.         Judgment for reimbursement

            Rowan challenges the child support magistrate’s judgment in favor of Dakota County in the amount of $6,450 for reimbursement of past support.  Rowan does have standing to raise this issue, as the judgment for reimbursement has the effect of reducing the portion of the child support payment that she would receive.  It appears that Rowan is arguing that she has already reimbursed the county for J.R.M.’s use of public assistance, and thus the judgment for reimbursement should be awarded to her.

A parent is liable for the amount of public assistance furnished for the benefit of the child which the parent had the ability to pay.  Minn. Stat. § 256.87, subd. 1 (1998).  The magistrate found that the total amount of general and medical assistance Dakota County expended was $19,016.  Rowan seeks to have this factual finding modified to indicate that J.R.M. was not receiving public assistance during the time period in which the county paid that sum.  Because there is no transcript available, this court cannot modify the findings of fact.  Moreover, the magistrate’s finding appears appropriate, because Rowan’s signed financial statement in the court file indicates that she received medical and Minnesota family investment program assistance, and that J.R.M. received medical assistance.  Thus, the conclusions of law are supported by the magistrate’s findings of fact. 

Dakota County concedes that the magistrate made a clerical error in calculating the amount of the judgment.  The magistrate’s order states that the period of reimbursement is March 1, 1998, through May 31, 2000 (27 months).  Moeller was incarcerated for three months during the reimbursement period, and the magistrate found that he did not have the ability to pay child support during his incarceration.  Therefore, the magistrate should have calculated the past support by multiplying the $208 per month child support and the $50 per month medical support by 24 months.  But the magistrate erroneously multiplied the figures by 25 months.  The correct judgment amount is $6,192 ($4,992 child support, $1,200 medical support).

c.         Good cause

Finally, Rowan challenges the magistrate’s factual finding that


during the time [Rowan] was receiving public assistance, there was a period of time when good cause existed and the County was precluded from pursuing [Moeller] for support.  Good cause does not currently exist.


            It appears that Rowan may be raising some type of due-process claim here, arguing that Dakota County attempted to serve Moeller with a summons and complaint during the time good cause was claimed.  Rowan may also be challenging a denial of a good-cause exemption claim that apparently occurred in a different proceeding on December 1, 1998.  Because Rowan does not support her claim of error by argument or authority, she has waived the issue.  See State, Dep’t of Labor & Inds. v. Wintz Parcel Drivers, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 480, 480 (Minn. 1997) (stating that court declines to reach the issue in absence of adequate briefing); Ganguli v. University of Minnesota, 512 N.W.2d 918, 919 n.1 (Minn. App. 1994) (stating that court declines to address allegations unsupported by legal analysis or citation).

            Affirmed as modified.