This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed December 13, 2005
in part and reversed in part
Carver County District Court
File No. CV-04-84
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Halbrooks, Judge, and Wright, Judge.
Because respondents failed to give timely notice of their intent to pursue sanctions under Minn. Stat. § 549.211, we reverse the district court’s award of $8,620 in attorney fees under this statute as an abuse of discretion. But because the district court had authority to award special damages incurred in the discharge of the notice of lis pendens, we affirm the remaining award of $5,780 in attorney fees.
district court’s award of attorney fees under Minn. Stat. § 549.211 (2002) is
reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
for sanctions under the statute must be made separately from other motions and served
as provided by the rules; it may not be filed with or presented to the court
until the party to be sanctioned has had 21 days after service within which to
correct the conduct to be sanctioned. Minn.
Stat. § 549.211, subd. 4(a). The
district court may sua sponte enter an order describing the conduct to be
sanctioned, but must issue an order to show cause why the party or attorney
should not be sanctioned.
Here, respondents gave notice of their intent to pursue sanctions in a March 16, 2004 letter, which was served two days before the hearing on the motion to discharge the notice of lis pendens. While service two days before the hearing may or may not be reasonable, the letter was not in the form of a motion and did not give appellant 21 days in which to correct the complained-of conduct: filing the notice of lis pendens. Moreover, 21 days did not even expire, because the district court’s order discharging the notice was issued 12 days after the letter. Under these facts, we must conclude that the district court abused its discretion in awarding $8,620 in attorney fees based solely on Minn. Stat. § 549.211, even though appellant’s conduct clearly warranted such a sanction. See Gibson, 659 N.W.2d at 791 (denying sanctions, despite violations, because of failure to comply with procedural requirements).
district court also awarded respondents attorney fees incurred in discharging
the notice of lis pendens as special damages caused by appellant’s slander of
title. In Paidar v. Hughes, 615 N.W.2d 276, 281 (
challenges the district court’s determinations that the notice of lis pendens
was a slander on the title and that it proximately caused the special damages
cited by the district court. Issues of
causation are generally fact questions left to the finder of fact and only
become questions of law when “different minds can reasonably arrive at only one
has not provided a transcript of the testimony before the court, and our review
is therefore limited to whether the district court’s factual findings support
its conclusions. Am. Fam. Life Ins.
The district court’s award of $8,620 in attorney fees under Minn. Stat. § 549.211 is reversed, but its award of $5,780 in attorney fees for the discharge of notice of lis pendens as special damages is affirmed.
Affirmed in part and reversed in part.