This opinion will be unpublished and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

C0-01-272

 

Dwane Henricksen,

Appellant,

 

vs.

 

Mark Bruckelmyer, et al.,

Respondents,

Maki & Overom, Chartered,

Respondent,

Markham Company,

Respondent.

 

Filed October 23, 2001

Remanded

G. Barry Anderson, Judge

 

 St. Louis County District Court

File No. C500601207

 

Thomas W. Reed, Andersen, Haag, Paciotti & Butterworth, P.A., 1000 Alworth Building, P.O. Box 745, Duluth, MN  55801 (for appellant)

 

John N. Nys, Suite 800, 230 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN  55802 (for respondent The Markham Company); and

 

John F. Hedtke, 1217 East First Street, Duluth, MN  55805 (for respondents Peter Hendricksen and Mark Bruckelmyer); and

 

Robert C. Maki, Shawn B. Reed, Suite 402, 31 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN  55802 (for respondent Maki & Overom, Chartered)

 

            Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N

G. BARRY ANDERSON, Judge

            In this quiet-title action, appellant Dwane Henricksen challenges the district court’s grant of summary judgment for respondents Mark Bruckelmyer, et al.  The district court, taking judicial notice of several related proceedings, granted summary judgment for respondents, holding that appellant was precluded from relitigating his claim that the property at issue could not be sold at an execution sale because it had already been sold at a prior execution sale for the same debt.  Because the district court did not identify the analysis it used to make its decision or adequately explain how it reached its decision, and because the record presented to this court lacks relevant portions of the records of which the district court took judicial notice, we remand. 

FACTS

This action, and several related actions preceding it, concern a debt and a land dispute, and involve the Henricksen brothers, Kent, Stanley, and appellant Dwane.  The current proceeding also involves respondents Mark Bruckelmeyer, et al., to whom Kent allegedly transferred the property.  In 1995, Kent obtained a judgment in excess of $240,000 against Stanley and other defendants.  At that time, Stanley owned the “McQuade Property.”  At an execution sale, Kent purchased the property for $22,500.   Later, Stanley quitclaimed his interest in the property, including his right to redeem, to appellant Dwane, who redeemed the property. 

            When Stanley and appellant subsequently sought a declaratory judgment invalidating the sheriff’s sale, Kent sought a declaratory judgment that the sale was valid.  In July 1996, the district court, among other things, denied Stanley’s and appellant’s motions, granted Kent’s motion, and held both that appellant, as an assignee, had no greater rights in the property than Stanley did and that the property was subject to the remaining debt.  There was no appeal from this ruling.

Kent arranged another sheriff’s sale of the property based on the unsatisfied portion of the judgment.  Stanley and appellant, in the declaratory-judgment proceeding in which the prior unappealed ruling had been issued, moved to “cancel” the sale before it took place.  In March 1997, the district court allowed the sale to take place on the condition that the proceeds be deposited with the court.  At the sale, Kent purchased the property for $75,000 and filed a receipt with the sheriff, reducing the remainder of his judgment against Stanley by the sale amount. 

After neither Stanley nor appellant redeemed the property from this second sale within the redemption period, Kent sought a district court order confirming the second sale and the application of the purchase price against the judgment.  Stanley and appellant argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the relief requested.  In a January 1999 judgment, the district court confirmed the sale.  Stanley and appellant then appealed the March 1997 and January 1999 judgments and this court vacated both judgments because (1) the district court’s July 1996 judgment fully resolved both the validity of the first sheriff’s sale and the extent of appellant’s interest; (2) once the initial appeal period expired, the district court was divested of jurisdiction to amend the July 1996 order; (3) there was no pending proceeding in which to make the requests for relief that produced the March 1997 and January 1999 judgments; and, therefore, (4) those rulings were void for lack of jurisdiction.  Henricksen v. Henricksen, No. C7-99-333 & C7-99-395 (Minn. App. Nov. 2, 1999) (Henricksen I).  This court did not otherwise express an opinion on the merits of the parties’ various disputes.

While Henricksen I was pending in this court, Kent purportedly transferred the property to respondents.  In June 2000, after Henricksen I was issued, appellant brought a quiet-title action, seeking a judgment declaring him to be the fee owner of the property.  Respondents filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02.  The district court (a) noted that the various disputes of the Henricksen brothers had spawned “at least a half-dozen other filings in this courthouse”; (b) stated that it was taking judicial notice of those other proceedings; (c) considered documents beyond the pleadings submitted in the current proceeding; (d) converted the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and (e) granted summary judgment to respondents.  In doing so, the district court generally stated that “[w]hether it’s call[ed] res judicata, collateral attack, or collateral estoppel, really matters little.  It’s one or all of the above.”  The district court did not otherwise specifically identify the legal theory it used in reaching its decision.  This appeal followed.

D E C I S I O N

The standards for awarding and reviewing a summary judgment are well settled:

[S]ummary judgment is appropriate where the “pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact” and either party is entitled to judgment “as a matter of law.” 

 

W.J.L. v. Bugge, 573 N.W.2d 677, 680 (Minn. 1998) (quoting Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03).  On appeal from summary judgment, we must determine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court erred in applying the law.  State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn. 1990). 

            On appeal, appellant contends that the district court erred by granting summary judgment because Minnesota statutes preclude a second sheriff’s sale of property for which an execution sale has already been conducted.[1]  The district court, however, did not specifically address this question.  Instead, it took judicial notice of “at least a half-dozen other filings,” apparently concluded that the question had already been decided, refused to allow the question to be relitigated, and awarded respondents summary judgment.  Generally, a district court’s decision that an issue should not be litigated because it was previously decided is reviewed de novo.  See generally Care Institute, Inc. v. County of Ramsey, 612 N.W.2d 443, 446 (Minn. 2000) (stating that application of res judicata and availability of collateral estoppel are reviewed de novo) (citations omitted).  Additionally, we cannot assume that the district court erred in identifying the issues litigated in other proceedings.  See Loth v. Loth, 227 Minn. 387, 392, 35 N.W.2d 542, 546 (1949) (stating that appellate courts cannot presume district court error); Luthen v.
Luthen
, 596 N.W.2d 278, 283 (Minn. App. 1999) (applying Loth).  The file currently before this court, however, does not include documents from the other proceedings explicitly addressing the propriety of a second execution sale of the property.  Nor does it specifically identify either the aspects of the other proceedings that were the subject of judicial notice or the legal mechanism the district court used as the basis for its decision. 

            We understand and are sympathetic to the district court’s justifiable frustration with this case and related, and apparently endless, litigation.  Review by this court is not possible, however, without (a) specific identification of the analysis the district court used to make its decision; (b) a showing that the district court adequately considered the factors relevant to the analysis it used to make its decision; and (c) a record sufficient to allow a determination whether the selected analysis applies to the case.  For these reasons, we remand for the district court to explicitly address whether the propriety of a second execution sale has been previously decided.  If it has been previously decided, the district court shall identify the proceeding and the holding.  It shall then explicitly identify the theory or theories allegedly precluding relitigation of that question in this proceeding and shall address whether the elements of those theories have been satisfied.  If the question of the propriety of a second execution sale has not been previously decided, the district court shall address the question.  On remand, the district court shall have discretion to reopen the record to receive additional submissions from the parties.  If the district court concludes that the existing record in this case and any other proceedings of which judicial notice is taken are sufficient to resolve this case, the district court shall include in the record of this case the portions of the record(s) of other proceedings necessary to support any final decision it makes in this case.  We express no opinion on the questions whether the propriety of a second execution sale has been previously decided, whether any prior decision is sufficient to preclude litigation of that question in the instant case, or any other matter in dispute in this case.

            Remanded.

           



[1] Appellant also argues that the district court erred because the district court’s ruling is inconsistent with the Minnesota title standards, which do not provide that a title examiner must look beyond the certificate of redemption to determine whether the redemption satisfied the entire judgment.  Because this theory was not raised in the district court, we do not address it.  Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988).