This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
James E. Taplin, et al.,
One 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee,
Minnesota License No.:† FLYFISH
Washington County District Court
File No. C0013569
Scott R. Martin, Scott R. Martin, P.A., 4856 Banning Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (for respondents)
Timothy M. Kelley, Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Vierling, P.L.L.P., 1835 Northwestern Avenue, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for appellant)
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Halbrooks, Judge, and Hudson, Judge.
In this vehicle-forfeiture matter, appellant City of Bayport (Bayport) challenges the district courtís grant of summary judgment to respondent James Taplin (Taplin) on the ground that the court erred in concluding that Bayportís interest in the vehicle is subject to the unperfected bona fide security interest of Taplin.† Bayport argues that Taplinís motion for amended findings following the courtís order granting summary judgment to Bayport was improper because it sought to introduce evidence outside the summary-judgment record.† Bayport further argues that, even if Taplinís motion were construed as a rule 60 motion or a motion for reconsideration, it was still improper.† Bayport seeks reinstatement of the district courtís original grant of summary judgment in its favor, or, in the alternative, remand for trial.† We affirm the district courtís conclusion that Bayport is entitled to forfeit the vehicle.† Because material issues of fact remain, we vacate the district courtís order granting respondent summary judgment and remand for trial.
††††††††††† Taplin owned a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee that he sold to his son, respondent John Taplin (John).† Under the terms of the purchase agreement, John was to make monthly payments of $675 to Taplin until the $35,000 balance was paid in full.† Following Johnís arrest for driving the vehicle under the influence of alcohol, Bayport instituted forfeiture proceedings.† Taplin intervened, claiming that he had a security interest in the vehicle.† It is undisputed that Taplinís interest in the vehicle was unperfected.† Taplin claims that, although unperfected, his interest is bona fide and, thus, protected under Minn. Stat. ß 169A.63, subd. 7(b) (2000).†
On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court granted Bayportís motion, concluding that, because Taplinís security interest was unperfected, it was invalid against Bayport.† Despite granting summary judgment to Bayport, the district court stated in its memorandum accompanying the order that material issues of fact remained concerning whether or not Taplin had a bona fide security interest.† Taplin brought a motion for amended findings.† The district court responded to that motion by vacating its grant of summary judgment to Bayport and scheduling an evidentiary hearing to take place six days later.† Over Bayportís objection, the district court received additional evidence at the hearing and granted summary judgment in favor of Taplin.† This appeal follows.
This court reviews a grant of summary judgment de novo to determine whether there are any genuine issues of material fact.† Zip Sort, Inc. v. Commír of Revenue, 567 N.W.2d 34, 37 (Minn. 1997).† No genuine issue of material fact exists ď[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.Ē† DLH, Inc. v. Russ, 566 N.W.2d 60, 69 (Minn. 1997) (alteration in original) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356 (1986)).† An appellate court
must determine if the evidence in the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was granted, is sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding the essential elements of that partyís claims.
Midwest Sports Mktg., Inc. v. Hillerich & Bradsby of Canada, Ltd., 552 N.W.2d 254, 260 (Minn. App. 1996) (citation omitted), review denied (Minn. Sept. 20, 1996).
Based on evidence received after ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court concluded that Bayportís interest in the vehicle is subject to Taplinís bona fide interest in the vehicle in the amount of $16,300.† Bayport argues that the court erred in its decision because only perfected security interests are protected under Minn. Stat. ß 169A.63, subd. 10(b) (2000), and because there are genuine issues of material fact.† In support of its position, Bayport asserts that both Taplinsí conduct violated the terms of the purchase agreement by (1) titling the vehicle in Johnís name rather than in Taplinís name; (2) John insuring the vehicle, rather than Taplin; and (3) satisfying the monthly payment requirement with rent-free housing.
††††††††††† Our review of this matter is complicated by its flawed procedural posture.† Taplinís motion was captioned as one for amended findings under Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.02.† The purpose of a motion for amended findings is to allow the trial court to review its own exercise of discretion.† Lewis v. Lewis, 572 N.W.2d 313 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1998).† Thus, a proper motion for amended findings must both identify the alleged defect in challenged findings and explain why challenged findings are defective.† Id.† In considering such a motion, ďthe trial court must apply the evidence as submitted during the trial of the case.Ē† Rathbun v. W.T. Grant Co., 300 Minn. 223, 238, 219 N.W.2d 641, 651 (1974).†
††††††††††† Bayport contends that Taplinís motion for amended findings was improper because it sought to introduce evidence outside the summary-judgment record.† Bayport further argues that, even if Taplinís motion is construed as a rule 60 motion or a motion for reconsideration, it is still improper.† We agree.
††††††††††† Taplinís motion for amended findings failed to identify any defects in the courtís findings or to explain why the courtís findings were defective.† Instead, Taplin simply asked the court to determine that he had a bona fide security interest in the vehicle based on his newly-created affidavit and additional records.† Contrary to his earlier testimony, Taplinís affidavit stated that he began residing rent-free in Johnís home in June 1999 in exchange for Johnís obligation to make monthly payments to him.† Taplin submitted to the court copies of bank statements that purport to show an automatic transfer of funds from Johnís account to his for a few months before he moved in.† Taplin concedes that the bank records existed before the hearing on the cross-motions for summary judgment and that he had been living with his son for 15 months by the hearing date.†
††††††††††† Bayport argues that Taplinís motion should be analyzed as a rule 60 motion because he presented additional evidence to the court.† Minn. R. Civ. P. 60, which governs relief from final judgment, allows for correction of both clerical and certain substantive errors.† Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.01 allows a court to correct at any time ď[c]lerical mistakes in judgments, orders, or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission * * * .Ē† Taplin argues that the district court was merely correcting the ambiguous nature of the initial order that both granted summary judgment to Bayport and stated that material issues of fact remained.
Minn. R. Civ. P. 60 is identical to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60.† Eid v. Hodson, 542 N.W.2d 402, 405 (Minn. App. 1996).† In Eid, the court stated that
[a] motion under [rule 60.01] can only be used to make the judgment or record speak the truth and cannot be used to make it say anything other than what was originally pronounced.†
Id. (citation omitted).† Rule 60.01 concerns what is erroneous because it is not what the person intended to speak, write, or record.† Id. at 406.† But the courtís March 6, 2002 order granting summary judgment to Taplin establishes that the court considered the grant of summary judgment to Bayport to be a substantive, rather than clerical, error.† As such, Taplin would have to satisfy the requirements of Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02.† Given that Taplin sought to introduce a new affidavit and accompanying documentary evidence, Taplin should properly have filed a rule 60.02 motion to vacate the courtís earlier judgment.
††††††††††† Rule 60.02 requires that the party seeking to set aside summary judgment (1) possess a reasonable defense on the merits; (2) have a reasonable excuse for the failure or neglect involved; (3) have acted with due diligence after notice of entry of the judgment; and (4) show that no substantial prejudice will result to the other party.† Finden v. Klaas, 268 Minn. 268, 271, 128 N.W.2d 748, 750 (1964).† When the above are present, the court may grant relief.† Id.
††††††††††† When a district court applies the Finden factors to set aside summary judgment, we review the decision on an abuse-of-discretion standard.† Carter v. Anderson, 554 N.W.2d 110, 115 (Minn. App. 1996), review denied (Minn. Dec. 23, 1996).† But, when the district court fails to address Finden, our standard of review is de novo.† Id.† Here, there is no evidence that the court analyzed this matter under Finden.†
††††††††††† Taplinís motion failed to meet the requirements of rule 60.02.† He admittedly had the additional evidence at the time cross-motions for summary judgment were made and offered no good reason for failing to present it earlier.† A rule 60.02 motion corrects only excusable neglect. †Courts have been reluctant to use rule 60.02 as a means of correcting even plain judicial error.† Id. at 114-115 (stating that correction of judicial error is not an unforeseen contingency and rule 60.02 was only meant to cover unforeseen contingencies).
††††††††††† Arguably, Taplinís motion might be construed as one for reconsideration.† ďMotions to reconsider are prohibited except by express permission of the court, which will be granted only upon a showing of compelling circumstances.Ē† Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.11.† A request for reconsideration must be made by letter to the court with a copy to opposing counsel.† Id.† Here, there was no request for permission sent to the court or opposing counsel.† Further, even if the district court impliedly waived the request and notice requirement, a motion for reconsideration does not expand or supplement the record on appeal.† Sullivan v. Spot Weld, Inc., 560 N.W.2d 712, 716 (Minn. App. 1997), review denied (Minn. Apr. 24, 1997).† Thus, the addition of new evidence made any such motion improper.
The district courtís initial order concluded that forfeiture was appropriate, and its later order did not amend this conclusion.† Taplin has not challenged Bayportís right to forfeit the vehicle.† Because John violated Minn. Stat. ß 169A.20 (2000), the vehicle was properly forfeited under Minn. Stat. ß 169A.63, subd. 1(d) (2000).† We, therefore, affirm the district courtís conclusion that Bayport is entitled to forfeit the vehicle.† The remaining issue for resolution is whether Bayportís right is subject to any interest of Taplin.
Viewed in the light most favorable to Bayport, there are disputed issues of material fact that need to be determined by the district court with adequate notice to Bayport and a meaningful opportunity to respond to Taplinís newly-submitted evidence and the statutory question of whether an invalid, unperfected lien is protected under Minn. Stat. ß 169A.63.† As a result, we vacate the district courtís grant of summary judgment to Taplin, and remand for trial.
††††††††††† Affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded.