This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Laleen Marie Loomis,
Stearns County District Court
File No. C1021302
Warren V. Bigelow, Jr., 1000 Superior Blvd., Wayzata, MN 55391 (for appellant)
William K. Strifert, 821 Marquette Avenue South, Suite 1106, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Shannon J. Wood argues that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to vacate a conciliation court judgment for property damages. We affirm.
The district court’s decision of whether to vacate a judgment will not be overturned absent abuse of discretion. Meyer v. Best W. Seville Plaza Hotel, 562 N.W.2d 690, 694 (Minn. App. 1997) (construing Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02), review denied (Minn. June 26, 1997).
Because over a year has passed since the conciliation court judgment, appellant relies on Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(f) to seek relief from that judgment. Clause (f) states that relief may be just for “[a]ny other reasons justifying relief from the operation of the judgment.” Relief under clause (f) requires a showing of “extraordinary circumstances.” Regents of Univ. of Minn. v. Medical Inc., 405 N.W.2d 474, 481 (Minn. App. 1987) (citation omitted.) And a motion for relief under clause (f) must be made within a reasonable time. Sommers v. Thomas, 251 Minn. 461, 466-67, 88 N.W.2d 191, 195 (1958).
Appellant claims that he should be allowed to obtain vacation of the conciliation court judgment because even though he retained an attorney prior to commencing that action, he did not consult his attorney regarding the consequences of obtaining a conciliation court judgment and was therefore unaware of the concept of res judicata and the rules against splitting causes of action. We disagree. In Mattsen v. Packman, 358 N.W.2d 48, 51 (Minn. 1984), the supreme court found no compelling reason to forsake the doctrine of res judicata to vacate a conciliation court judgment. The supreme court noted that
although plaintiff avers that he did not seek his attorney’s advice about instituting the action in conciliation court, he had engaged, or at least consulted, his attorney some months before commencing that action.
Id. Here, although appellant states that he did not seek his attorney’s advice about instituting an action in conciliation court, the record indicates that appellant did consult with his attorney about the possibility of bringing a personal injuries claim before deciding to proceed with his property damages claim in conciliation court.
In addition, the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that appellant’s motion to vacate was not brought in a timely manner. It took appellant more than seven years to bring a motion to vacate the conciliation court judgment. Appellant argues that he had to wait that long to seek relief from the judgment because he could not bring an action for personal injuries until he met the requirements of the no-fault threshold. But appellant failed to provide the district court with an approximate date as to when his claim for personal injuries matured. Without knowing how long it took appellant to seek relief from the conciliation court judgment after appellant met the requirements of the no-fault threshold, the district court could not determine if appellant’s motion to vacate was made within a reasonable time. Thus, the district court properly concluded that there was an insufficient fact basis in this case to forsake the doctrine of res judicata.
Moreover, appellant’s motion to vacate was not filed until nearly 15 months after appellant’s district court claim for personal injuries was initiated. Once appellant filed his claim, respondent’s answer dated February 2, 2001, raised both accord and satisfaction and splitting of claims as a defense to the complaint. Despite this notice of the prior judgment as a defense, appellant waited until April 25, 2002, to bring a motion to vacate that prior judgment. Given this delay, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that appellant’s motion was not brought within a reasonable time.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.