This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Renita L. Ray,
George C. Dronen, et al.,
Melvin Raduenz, et al.,
Filed April 5, 2005
Sibley County District Court
File No. CX-01-212
Richard I. Diamond, Jesse H. Kibort, Richard I. Diamond, P.A., 610 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, Minnesota 55305 (for appellant)
Michelle D. Christensen, Murnane, Conlin, White & Brandt, 444 Cedar Street, Suite 1800, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101 (for respondents George and Barbara Dronen)
David J. McGee, Christopher Renz, Thomsen & Nybeck, P.A., Edinborough Corporate Center East, Suite 600, 3300 Edinborough Way, Edina, Minnesota 55435 (for respondents Melvin Raduenz and Century 21 Gold, Inc.)
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Schumacher, Judge; and Hudson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant first challenges the district court’s denial of her motion to amend the complaint. A party may amend a pleading by leave of court, and amendments should be freely granted, except where to do so would result in prejudice to the other party. Minn. R. Civ. P. 15.01; Hughes v. Micka, 269 Minn. 268, 275, 130 N.W.2d 505, 510 (1964). Whether a party is prejudiced is a question of fact. Fedie v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 631 N.W.2d 815, 820 (Minn. App. 2001), review denied (Minn. Oct. 16, 2001). The district court has wide discretion to grant or deny an amendment, and its action will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion. LaSalle Cartage Co. v. Johnson Bros. Wholesale Liquor Co., 302 Minn. 351, 357–58, 225 N.W.2d 233, 238 (1974). “[T]he liberality to be shown in the allowance of amendments to pleadings depends in part upon the stage of the action and in great measure upon the facts and circumstances of the particular case.” Bebo v. Delander, 632 N.W.2d 732, 741 (Minn. App. 2001), review denied (Minn. Oct. 16, 2001). Here, the district court found that appellant’s proposed amendments were prejudicial to respondents and untimely.
Appellant argues that respondents would not be prejudiced by her proposed amendments because the case is still at its early stages. In addition, appellant argues that justice requires that appellant be granted leave to amend because her previous two attorneys were ineffective. We disagree. This court has concluded that significant delays and increases in discovery are sufficiently prejudicial to warrant a district court’s denial of leave to amend. In Bebo, this court affirmed the district court’s decision to deny permission to amend because the motion was brought two months before the trial date. Id. The Bebo court noted that the amendment was prejudicial to the respondent because additional discovery would have been necessary. Id. Similarly, in Meteg v. K-Mart Corp., 385 N.W.2d 864 (Minn. App. 1986), this court found sufficient evidence of prejudice when the appellant did not move to amend until four years after commencing the action and six months after the pretrial conference. Because appellant’s proposed amendment would have required further discovery and postponement of the trial, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying leave to amend. Id. at 866.
Furthermore, the record supports the district court’s determination that permitting appellant to amend her complaint would result in significant prejudice to respondents. Appellant is requesting leave to amend roughly three years after commencing the action and one year after the close of discovery and the proposed trial date. Moreover, respondents cannot inspect the property to determine the validity of appellant’s damages claims because the claims are four years old, and appellant no longer resides at that property. Thus, permitting leave to amend would necessitate additional discovery to address appellant’s nine additional claims, yet the parties’ ability to conduct that discovery is now severely limited. Finally, there is no precedent for appellant’s contention that ineffective assistance of counsel warrants leave to amend. Given that the instant action is analogous to precedent in which this court upheld denial of leave to amend, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying appellant’s request to amend.
Appellant also challenges the district court’s dismissal pursuant to Rule 12.02(e). This court reviews a dismissal under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02 de novo. Bodah v. Lakeville Motor Express, Inc., 663 N.W.2d 550, 553 (Minn. 2003). The only question before the reviewing court is whether the complaint sets forth a legally sufficient claim for relief. Barton v. Moore, 558 N.W.2d 746, 749 (Minn. 1997). This court must accept all facts alleged in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Bodah, 663 N.W.2d at 553. Minnesota is a notice-pleading state that does not require absolute specificity in pleading, but it does require a sufficient basis of facts to notify the opposing party of the claims raised against it. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 8.01 (requiring pleading to include “short and plain statement of the claim” showing entitlement to relief); Roberge v. Cambridge Coop. Creamery Co., 243 Minn. 230, 232, 67 N.W.2d 400, 402 (1954) (pleadings must “be framed so as to give fair notice of the claim asserted and permit the application of the doctrine of [r]es judicata”).
The district court did not err in dismissing appellant’s May 16, 2002 complaint because the plain language of the complaint does not identify the theory of liability on which the complaint is based. Because the complaint alleges that respondent’s disclosure statement “purported” to be an accurate description of the condition of the house, it is likely appellant intended to claim fraud or misrepresentation. But a party must plead “with particularity” all circumstances constituting fraud or mistake. Minn. R. Civ. P. 9.02; see also McBroom v. Al-Chroma, Inc., 386 N.W.2d 369, 374 (Minn. App. 1986) (complaint must allege elements of intent, inducement, and reliance). The plain language of appellant’s complaint failed to plead fraud or its elements with specificity and, therefore, failed to state a claim on which relief could be based, in violation of Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e).
 The original complaint is dated April 20, 2001. The district court record contains no filing date for this complaint until May 16, 2002, when appellant filed an amended complaint. The only change from the original complaint was the inclusion of an acknowledgment of her attorney.