This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






John C. Gohl, et al.,





Washington Mutual, Inc., et al.,



Filed August 2, 2005

Reversed and remanded

Kalitowski, Judge


Dakota County District Court

File No. C3-03-8234


Timothy D. Kelly, Jennifer M. Waterworth, Kelly & Berens, P.A., 3720 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellants)


John E. Brandt, Kelly S. Hadac, Murnane, Conlin, White & Brandt, 444 Cedar Street, Suite 1800, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondents)


            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Dietzen, Judge; and Forsberg, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellants John Gohl and Vicki Gohl challenge the district court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of respondents Washington Mutual, Inc. and Washington Mutual Bank FA.  In May 2003, appellants brought suit against mortgage-lender respondents to stop Washington Mutual FA from prosecuting a foreclosure and to enforce a settlement agreement made on October 28, 1996, with Washington Mutual’s predecessor in interest.  Appellants claimed that respondents were in breach of contract for failure to refinance appellants’ mortgage as agreed to in the 1996 settlement.  Respondents filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that appellants’ claim was time-barred by the six-year statute of limitations for contract claims.  The district court granted respondents’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed appellants’ complaint with prejudice, but provided no analysis to support its order.  We reverse and remand.


            On appeal from summary judgment, this court asks whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and whether the district court erred in its application of the law.  State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn. 1990).  Summary judgment is appropriate “when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that either party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”  Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993).  We must examine the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom summary judgment was granted.  Id.  We are not bound by and need not give deference to a district court’s decision on a purely legal issue.  Modrow v. JP Foodservice, Inc., 656 N.W.2d 389, 393 (Minn. 2003). 

            Minnesota’s general statute of limitations provides that an action “upon a contract or other obligation, express or implied, as to which no other limitation is expressly prescribed” shall be brought within six years.  Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(1) (2004).  Ordinarily, such an action can only be brought after the cause of action accrues.  Minn. Stat. § 541.01 (2004).  A cause of action for breach of contract “accrues generally at the time of the breach, even if the damages do not manifest themselves until later.”  Guercio v. Prod. Automation Corp., 664 N.W.2d 379, 387 (Minn. App. 2003).  “[W]here a contract is silent as to the time of performance, the general rule is that the contract must be performed within a reasonable time.”  Hill v. Okay Constr. Co., 312 Minn. 324, 333, 252 N.W.2d 107, 114 (1977).  And “[a]s a general rule, what constitutes a reasonable time for the performance of contract obligations is a question of fact or mixed law and fact for determination by a jury.”  Bly v. Bublitz, 464 N.W.2d 531, 535 (Minn. App. 1990). 

            As noted above, appellants sued respondents for breach of contract to stop foreclosure and to enforce the 1996 settlement agreement.  In their motion for summary judgment, respondents simply argued that appellants were time-barred from bringing suit because more than six years had passed since the settlement was reached on October 28, 1996.  In their reply memorandum, appellants argued that summary judgment should be denied because the date of respondents’ breach is a genuine issue of material fact, and the defense of recoupment allows appellants to assert their claim, even if time-barred by the statute of limitations.  In this appeal, appellant raises these same issues, along with the argument that appellants are “estopped to assert the 1993 mortgage while it refuses to perform on the 1996 settlement agreement.” 

            The district court failed to address the evidence submitted by appellants that because respondents’ breach of the settlement agreement occurred after May 30, 1997, their action was not time-barred.  Thus, while we make no judgment on the merits of appellants’ cause of action, we reverse and remand for the district court to make a determination, on a proper factual background, as to whether there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the time of respondents’ alleged breach of the settlement agreement.  Because the district court did not address appellants’ recoupment or estoppel arguments, we do not address them on appeal.  See Thiele v. Stitch, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (stating that appellate courts will generally not consider matters not argued and considered in the district court). 

            Reversed and remanded.

*  Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.