This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Four Seasons Automotive Services, Inc.,
The Estate of Evadene L. Habinger,
a Nevada Probate Estate, et al.,
Washington County District Court
File No. C0985214
Lonny D. Thomas, Gregory M. Erickson, Thomas & Associates, P.A., 6949 Valley Creek Road, Suite 120, Woodbury, MN 55125 (for respondent)
Walter J. Gates, III, Walter J. Gates, III, P.A., 510 Long Street, Suite 109, P.O. Box 3008, Mankato, MN 56002-3008 (for appellants)
Considered and decided by Harten, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellants Estate of Evadene L. Habinger and Gerald Tank challenge the district court’s denial of their motion to vacate the permanent injunction authorizing respondent Four Seasons Automotive Services, Inc., to remain on its leasehold property for an additional five-year period. Appellants contend the district court erred in upholding the injunction and also argue that the injunction should never have been issued. We affirm.
It is well established that the
courts have the inherent power to amend, modify, or vacate an injunction where the circumstances have changed and it is just and equitable to do so.
Channel 10, Inc. v. Independent School Dist. No. 709, 298 Minn. 306, 327-28, 215 N.W.2d 814, 829 (1974) (citations omitted). “A district court’s findings regarding entitlement to injunctive relief will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous.” Upper Midwest Sales Co. v. Ecolab, Inc., 577 N.W.2d 236, 240 (Minn. App. 1998). This court views the facts in favor of the party who prevailed below. Id.
In October 1997, respondent informed appellants that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required the removal of underground storage tanks located underneath the property that respondent was leasing from appellants. Subsequently, appellants challenged respondent’s attempt to exercise its option to extend the lease for five years resulting in respondent seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting appellants from impairing respondent’s right to use and occupy the leased property. In granting the injunction the district court found that appellants had “acknowledged that the removal of the [underground storage] tanks was their responsibility.” Later, the district court specifically ordered appellants to repair or replace the underground storage tanks.
Although appellants did not replace the underground storage tanks at the leasehold property site, they sought a motion to vacate the permanent injunction. To support their motion, appellants argued that the injunction should be dissolved because respondent had breached the lease agreement by ceasing operations on the leasehold property. But “a party cannot raise to its advantage a breach of contract against another party when it has first breached the contract itself.” MTS Co. v. Taiga Corp., 365 N.W.2d 321, 327 (Minn. App. 1985) (citations omitted), review denied (Minn. June 14, 1985). Thus, the district court properly denied appellants’ motion because appellants breached the prior court orders to replace the underground storage tanks and appellants’ breach of their agreement to replace the underground tanks was a direct cause of respondent’s breach of the lease agreement. The district court also found that because appellants have yet to replace the underground storage tanks, there has not been a significant change in the parties’ circumstances to warrant a dissolution of the permanent injunction. We agree and thus conclude the district court appropriately found that appellants have not established sufficient grounds to vacate the permanent injunction.
Appellants also argue that the permanent injunction should never have been issued by the district court. But because appellants failed to appeal the district court decision granting the permanent injunction, the issuance of that injunction has become law of the case and the issue of whether the injunction was improperly issued is not before this court. The only issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in denying appellants’ motion to vacate the permanent injunction and we conclude the district court committed no error.