This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







In the Matter of the Petition of

Sandra D. Eadie,

f/k/a Sandra D. Witte,

for a new Certificate of Title.


Sandra D. Eadie, petitioner,





David P. Witte,




Filed September 17, 2002

Affirmed; motion to strike denied
Klaphake, Judge


Olmsted County District Court

File No. C5012142


William J. Ryan, Dunlap & Seeger, P.A., 206 South Broadway, Suite 505, Post Office Box 549, Rochester, MN  55903 (for respondent)


David P. Witte, Post Office Box 582552, Minneapolis, MN  55458 (appellant pro se)


            Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Shumaker, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            David B. Witte appeals pro se from a district court order directing the Olmsted County Registrar of Titles to cancel Certificate of Title No. 21440 and issue a new certificate of title to respondent Sandra D. Eadie.  Witte also has filed a motion to strike Eadie’s brief, which has been deferred to this panel.

            Because Eadie is not raising new issues and or otherwise challenging the district court’s decision, we deny Witte’s motion to strike.  Because Witte’s appeal is a collateral attack on an April 1998 order, which transferred all legal title, interest, and right in the parties’ homestead to Eadie, and because this order became final when Witte failed to continue with his appeal of that order, we affirm the district court’s order directing issuance of a new certificate of title.



            Witte moved to strike Eadie’s brief, arguing that she (1) raises new legal issues without having filed a notice of review under Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 106; (2) makes arguments different from those set out in her statement of the case; and (3) fails to respond to the issues that he raises in his appellate brief.  By letter to this court, Eadie’s counsel states that Eadie will not file a response to Witte’s motion to strike.

            Eadie does not challenge the district court’s decision and thus does not need to file a notice of review.  See City of Ramsey v. Holmberg, 548 N.W.2d 302, 305 (Minn. App. 1996) (respondent need only file notice of review under rule 106 if respondent intends to appeal or challenge district court’s ruling on particular issue), review denied (Minn. Aug. 6, 1996).  Nor is Eadie limited to the issues set out in her statement of the case.  See Lilly v. City of Minneapolis, 527 N.W.2d 107, 110 n.2 (Minn. App. 1995) (issues listed in a party’s statement of the case do not limit reviewability of issues on appeal), review denied (Minn. Mar. 29, 1995).  Finally, Eadie’s failure to individually address each of Witte’s arguments does not mandate that we accept his claims, particularly where those claims lack merit.  See McDonough v. City of Rosemount, 503 N.W.2d 493, 497 (Minn. App. 1993) (decision must be made on merits, and failure of respondent to file brief or address issue on appeal does not result in default decision in favor of appellant), review denied (Minn. Sept. 10, 1993).  We therefore deny Witte’s motion to strike Eadie’s brief.


            When the parties divorced in 1995, the homestead was awarded to Witte.  By 1998, however, Witte had been found in contempt of court for failing to pay child support, transfer retirement assets to Eadie, and otherwise comply with various court orders.  On April 1, 1998, the district court issued an order granting exclusive possession of the homestead to Eadie and terminating all of Witte’s right, title, and interest to the property.  Although Witte filed an appeal from this order, that appeal was dismissed by this court after Witte failed to correct certain filing deficiencies and respond to pending motions.  See Eadie v. Witte, Nos. C7-98-659, C9-98-744 (Minn. App. June 3, 1998).

            In August 2001, Eadie filed a petition for an order directing the registrar of titles to issue a new certificate in her name alone.  At a hearing in November 2001, Eadie’s attorney argued that issuance of a new certificate was a mere formality and that the April 1998 order, which transferred all right in the property to Eadie, was res judicata.  After hearing both parties’ arguments, the district court agreed with the arguments raised by Eadie’s attorney and granted the petition for a new certificate of title.

            Under Minn. Stat. § 508.71, subd. 2 (2000), a party may petition for a new certificate of title upon a number of grounds, including that “registered interests * * * have terminated or ceased.”  Eadie’s petition here is based on the April 1998 order, which “immediately terminated” and granted to Eadie “all of [Witte’s] right, title, and interest in the parties’ former homestead.”  Eadie was also “immediately granted exclusive possession of those premises.”  When Witte’s appeal of this order was dismissed by this court and not reinstated by him in a timely manner, the district court’s order became final.  See Dieseth v. Calder Mfg. Co., 275 Minn. 365, 368, 147 N.W.2d 100, 102 (1966) (when no appeal taken from appealable order within time allowed by law, issued decided by that order is res judicata, and second action challenging order is barred); City of Chaska v. Chaska Twp., 271 Minn. 139, 142-43, 135 N.W.2d 195, 197-98 (1965) (order becomes final only after appellate process is terminated or time for appeal expires).

            Witte raises various challenges to the validity of the 1998 order, including lack of jurisdiction, denial of due process, interference with his homestead exemption, denial of leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and denial of property rights.  Even if these arguments had merit, they should have been raised in the appeal from the 1998 order and now constitute an improper collateral attack on a final order.  A fact, question, or right that has been adjudicated in a prior action cannot be challenged or disputed in a subsequent action, even though the prior action may have been reached on an erroneous view or application of the law.  See O’Rielly Motor Co. v. Uecker, 309 Minn. 278, 280, 244 N.W.2d 49, 51 (1976); see also Loo v. Loo, 520 N.W.2d 740, 744 n. 1 (Minn. 1994) (explaining differences among doctrines of law of case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel).

            Witte also argues that the district court wrongfully refused to read his submissions before issuing its decision, improperly signed Eadie’s prepared order without modification, and denied him due process by failing to grant him an evidentiary hearing or trial.  At the hearing on Eadie’s petition, the district court judge listened to the parties’ arguments, explained his reasoning to Witte, issued a ruling from the bench, and signed Eadie’s proposed order.  Because the court’s decision was reasoned and based on his knowledge of the facts and arguments, most of which he had heard in other proceedings and motions involving these parties, his ruling from the bench after considering the parties’ positions was not an abuse of discretion.  See Bliss v. Bliss, 493 N.W.2d 583, 590 (Minn. App. 1992) (while verbatim adoption of one party’s proposed order is acceptable, district court must still independently evaluate evidence), review denied (Minn. Feb. 12, 1993).

            Witte further argues that the April 1998 order should be reopened because it is based on fraud.  The bases for Witte’s fraud allegations were either well known to him at the time the April 1998 order was issued or soon thereafter.  As the district court explained to Witte at the hearing here, a judgment may be reopened for fraud “not more than one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered or taken.”  Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02.  Because Witte has waited more than three and one-half years to challenge the 1998 order, he has not acted within a reasonable time and cannot seek to reopen the order based on allegations of fraud.

            Affirmed; motion to strike denied.