This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Gateway Companies, Inc.,
Christopher Brevik d/b/a
Brevik & Associates,
Filed May 17, 2005
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 03-5065
Cynthia L. Hegarty, Best &
Christopher E. Brevik, Brevik
††††††††††† Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Schumacher, Judge; and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D†† O P I N I O N
On appeal from a partial summary judgment, appellant argues that (1) the district court abused its discretion by refusing to consider appellantís untimely responsive documents; and (2) the district court erred by granting partial summary judgment because the record evidence does not establish that appellant was unjustly enriched as a matter of law.† Because appellantís responsive documents were untimely filed and because the record demonstrates that appellant unjustly benefited from his use of the computers at respondentís expense, we affirm.†
to both respondent Gateway Companies, Inc. and appellant-attorney Christopher
Brevik, appellant went to the Gateway Country Store in
††††††††††† After placing several calls to respondentís technical support staff to obtain assistance with the computers and to inquire about obtaining certain replacement parts, appellant contacted respondent on January 28, 2000, to report that he had not received a lease agreement from respondentís leasing company.† Appellant received a fax that same day containing a 60-month lease agreement for the computers in appellantís possession.† Appellant did not sign this agreement, claiming that the terms were materially different than the terms offered in July 1999.† From January 2000 through mid-2001, the parties engaged in negotiations to reach a mutually acceptable purchase price.
††††††††††† Appellant contacted respondent on February 16, 2001, advising that he would like to return the computers.† Respondent refused acceptance.† Respondentís standard warranty provided a 30-day limited money-back guarantee, and the computers, which were then nearly two years old, had significantly depreciated in value.† The parties continued negotiations.† Respondent ultimately offered to accept $2,500 from appellant as a full and final resolution, but appellant insisted that the agreement include a written clause stating that respondent would not report this transaction adversely on appellantís credit report.† Respondent would not commit to that clause in writing.† Throughout this period, appellant continued to use the computers in his law practice.†
††††††††††† In August 2002, respondent filed a complaint alleging conversion, unjust enrichment, and account stated.† Respondent moved for summary judgment on all three counts in November 2003.† The district court refused to consider appellantís reply brief and documentation because both were untimely.† Appellant appeared for a summary judgment hearing on December 16, 2003.† The district court ordered appellant to return the computers by 2:30 p.m. on December 17, 2003.† Appellant failed to return all the computers, and respondent moved to find appellant in contempt.† The district court found that appellant was in contempt and entered a partial judgment awarding respondent attorney fees on January 15, 2004.
By order dated January 5, 2004, the district court dismissed respondentís conversion claim, denied respondentís motion for summary judgment with respect to the account-stated claim, and granted partial summary judgment as a matter of law on respondentís unjust-enrichment claim.† Shortly thereafter, respondent stipulated to a dismissal of the account-stated claim.† The district court held a jury trial on the issue of damages arising from appellantís unjust enrichment on June 2, 2004.† The jury returned a verdict awarding respondent $7,500.† The district court entered final judgment on July 12, 2004.† This appeal follows.
Respondent moved to dismiss this appeal on October 1, 2004.† By order dated November 16, 2004, this court concluded that appellant voluntarily satisfied the January 15, 2004 partial judgment awarding attorney fees without reserving the issue for appeal and dismissed the part of this appeal related to that judgment.†
D E C I S I O N
††††††††††† Appellant challenges the district courtís refusal to consider his responsive brief and materials prior to its award of partial summary judgment on respondentís unjust-enrichment claim, arguing that the materials were timely filed.† A district courtís decision to sanction a party for failure to properly serve or file a dispositive motion will be upheld absent an abuse of the district courtís discretion.† Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 115.06.†
responsive documents were untimely filed.†
Respondent served its motion for summary judgment upon appellant after
5:00 p.m. on November 18, 2003.† The
summary judgment hearing was scheduled for December 16, 2003.† Appellant was therefore required to serve and
file his responsive documents no later than December 8, 2003, eight days prior
to the hearing.† See Minn. R. Gen.
††††††††††† Appellant next argues that the
district court erred by granting partial summary judgment on respondentís
unjust-enrichment claim.† In an appeal
from summary judgment, this court reviews two determinations: whether a genuine
issue of material fact exists, and whether an error in the application of law
occurred.† Offerdahl v.
order to establish a claim of unjust enrichment, the claimant must show that
another party knowingly received something of value to which he was not
entitled and that the circumstances are such that it would be unjust for that
person to retain the benefit.† ServiceMaster
††††††††††† Appellant argues that the district
court erred in awarding summary judgment because the record lacks evidence of
illegal or unlawful conduct.† We
disagree.† The cause of action for unjust
enrichment is one that ďcan be maintained whenever one man has received or
obtained the possession of the money of another, which he ought in equity and
good conscience to pay over.Ē †Klass
v. Twin Cities Fed. Sav. & Loan Assín., 291
††††††††††† We conclude that the record supports the district courtís determination that appellant was unjustly enriched because he failed to provide consideration for respondentís computers.† Appellant accepted delivery of respondentís computers, knowing that he had not executed a lease agreement and that the computers were worth over $11,000.† Then appellant used respondentís computers in his law practice for roughly four years while the parties negotiated new lease terms and/or a reduced purchase price without providing any payment to respondent.† Thus, appellant willfully benefited from respondentís omission.† Although appellant eventually attempted to return the equipment, the computers were nearly two years old and had depreciated in value.† Moreover, respondent was not obligated to accept return of the computers after 30 days under respondentís standard warranty.† The record demonstrates that appellant benefited from his use of the computers at respondentís expense and that appellantís enrichment was inequitable.† Accordingly, the district court did not err as a matter of law in ruling that appellant was unjustly enriched by his receipt and use of respondentís computers.†