This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Joseph Dixon,





City of Minneapolis Water Department,



Filed May 22, 2001


Kalitowski, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. CT994784


Joseph Dixon, 1710 Freemont Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411 (pro se appellant)


Jay M. Heffern, Minneapolis City Attorney, William C. Dunning, Assistant City Attorney, 333 South Seventh Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55402-2453 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N




            Appellant Joseph Dixon challenges the district court’s involuntary dismissal of his action against respondent City of Minneapolis Water Department contending the district court abused its discretion.  We affirm. 



Appellant contends the district court abused its discretion in dismissing his case against respondent.  We disagree.  A district court may

upon its own initiative, or upon motion of a party, and upon such notice as it may prescribe, dismiss an action or claim for failure to prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of the court.


Minn. R. Civ. P. 41.02(a).  “Use of Rule 41.02[(a)] is infrequent and is within the sound discretion of the [district] court.”  Bonhiver v. Fugelso, Porter, Simich & Whiteman, Inc., 355 N.W.2d 138, 144 (Minn. 1984) (citation omitted).  “We will reverse an involuntary dismissal under Rule 41.02[(a)] only when the [district] court abused its discretion.”  Id. (citation omitted).

            Here, following a dispute over a water bill, appellant filed a complaint against respondent in April 1999 alleging, in part, conspiracy, abuse of power, racketeering, fraud, retaliation, and racial discrimination.  He subsequently filed numerous motions with the district court, including a “Petition Defendant for Complete Document[a]ry Meter Actual Reading on 5/4/99,” “Motion Requesting Documents and Records From Defendant,” and “Motion Requesting For Extension Of Time To File Inter[r]ogatory And To Submit Documents.”  Upon receiving appellant’s motions, the district court prohibited appellant from filing additional motions until the court had reviewed his current submissions.  Thereafter, appellant delayed serving respondent with a discovery request and answering respondent’s request for interrogatories.  The district court specifically warned appellant on at least two occasions of possible consequences for violating the rules of civil procedure. 

            In response to respondent’s motion for summary judgment, appellant subpoenaed several civil servants and public officials to testify at the summary judgment hearing, including Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and Minnesota State Representative Phil Carruthers.  Shortly after appellant served these subpoenas, the district court issued an order dismissing appellant’s case because he had “repeatedly abused judicial process by filing frivolous motions, delay[ed] the discovery process, and * * * improperly subpoenaed witnesses for Summary Judgment.”

            Because appellant violated the rules of civil procedure, we conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering dismissal of appellant’s case against respondent.  Moreover, given the litigation delays caused by appellant, it was within the district court’s discretion to dismiss appellant’s action.  See Lampert Lumber Co. v. Joyce, 405 N.W.2d 423, 425 (Minn. 1987) (noting that rule 41.02(a) “is designed to let the [district] court manage its docket and eliminate delays and obstructionist tactics by use of the sanction of dismissal”).