This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).







Renita L. Ray,





George C. Dronen, et al.,



Melvin Raduenz, et al.,



Filed April 5, 2005


Hudson, Judge


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


            On appeal from a judgment dismissing appellant’s complaint under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(e), appellant argues that the district court (a) abused its discretion by denying appellant leave to amend her complaint; and (b) erred by dismissing appellant’s complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  Because granting leave to amend would have unduly prejudiced respondents and because appellant’s complaint failed to identify a specific cause of action, we affirm. 


Appellant Renita L. Ray purchased a home from respondent George C. Dronen in the fall of 1999.  Respondent Melvin Raduenz of Century 21 Central Gold Incorporated acted as the broker for respondent Dronen.  Appellant is no longer the owner of this property.

Appellant commenced this action in April 2001.[1]  Appellant’s original complaint stated that, prior to the purchase of the property, the parties signed a purchase agreement including a disclosure statement “purport[ing] to be an accurate description of the home as represented by the Sellers at the time of the sale of the property.”  The complaint then states, “[i]mmediately after the sale of said property and after the closing, [appellant and her two sons] took possession of said property.  Since that time, numerous problems have resulted which [respondent Dronen] had to have been aware of and which were also not disclosed to [appellant].”  The complaint lists several allegedly undisclosed conditions including a malfunctioning air conditioner and furnace, a leaking roof, moldy and rotted walls and windows, and improper wiring.  The sole request for relief is as follows, “[appellant] prays for judgment against all of the [respondents], jointly and severable, in an amount in excess of $50,000.00 as measured by the diminishing value of the property together with the costs of repair and placement as will be submitted to the Court.”

Appellant failed to respond to numerous discovery requests beginning in July 2001.  Both parties moved to compel discovery in the spring of 2002.  The district court set a discovery deadline of January 11, 2003, and scheduled a trial date for March 2003.  Appellant substituted counsel and moved to postpone the trial date.  The parties stipulated to a continuation of the trial date to allow appellant’s new counsel time to complete discovery. 

Appellant moved to amend her complaint on April 30, 2003.  The proposed second amended complaint included her two sons as parties to a bodily injury claim and added three additional claims for relief:  negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, and breach of contract.  In its June 2003 order, the district court permitted appellant to amend the complaint to add her sons as plaintiffs in relation to the bodily injury claim, but denied appellant’s request to add the other three additional claims.  Appellant did not file or serve a second amended complaint in compliance with the district court’s order. 

Respondent Dronen moved for judgment on the pleadings under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.03 and/or Rule 56 in November 2003.  Respondent Raduenz also moved to dismiss, joining in and adopting respondent Dronen’s memorandum of law.  Appellant’s counsel withdrew in December 2003.  Appellant substituted new counsel in January 2004. 

            On February 5, 2004, appellant moved the court for an order denying respondents’ motion for dismissal and permitting appellant to file another amended complaint.  The proposed amended complaint included nine additional causes of action.  By an order dated May 27, 2004, the district court denied appellant’s motion to amend and granted respondents’ motion to dismiss.  With respect to the motion to amend, the district court concluded that appellant’s additional causes of action were either based on the same underlying facts as the three causes of action previously denied in the June 16, 2003 order or were untimely and prejudicial to respondents.  The district court dismissed appellant’s May 16, 2002 complaint pursuant to Rule 12.02.  The district court entered judgment on August 11, 2004. 




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).


[1] 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.