This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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







In re the Marriage of:

Jean K. Haefele, petitioner,





Richard J. Haefele,



Filed January 17, 2006


Willis, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. DW 231 667


A. Larry Katz, Elizabeth B. Bowling (of counsel), Katz, Manka, Teplinsky, Due & Sobol, Ltd., 225 South Sixth Street, Suite 4150, Minneapolis, MN  55402 (for respondent)


Kay Nord Hunt, Marc A. Johannsen, Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg, P.A., 2000 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN  55402 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Worke, Judge.

            U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


In this dissolution proceeding, appellant argues that the district court’s re-valuation of respondent’s art inventory exceeded the scope of this court’s remand.  Alternatively, appellant argues that the district court’s re-valuation of the art inventory is clearly erroneous.  We affirm.


            Appellant Richard Haefele and respondent Jean Haefele were married for almost 30 years.  During their marriage, appellant worked as an attorney and respondent worked as an artist, selling watercolor paintings and prints.  One of the parties’ marital-property assets was the inventory of respondent’s artwork.  In 1997, the parties executed a marital-termination agreement, and the district court issued a judgment of dissolution. 

Respondent subsequently moved to reopen the judgment and set aside the termination agreement.  The district court reopened the judgment and heard additional evidence on the value of certain marital property, including the art inventory.  Respondent introduced expert testimony from Bonnie Lindberg, who testified that the art inventory’s liquidation value was $43,800.  The district court adopted Lindberg’s valuation of the art inventory and issued an amended judgment.  Appellant challenged the amended judgment on several grounds, and in Haefele v. Haefele, 621 N.W.2d 758 (Minn. App. 2001) (Haefele I), review denied (Minn. Feb. 21, 2001), this court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. 

One of the issues on remand was the value of the art inventory.  Appellant offered testimony from Henry Swiggum, an art appraiser, and Richard Berning, a certified business appraiser and valuation analyst.  Swiggum testified that the fair market value of the art inventory was $955,870 and that after a 25% discount reflecting respondent’s salary and expenses, the art inventory was worth $716,903.  Berning testified that using a discounted-net-cash-flow method—a method that considers the “present value of the future economic income to be derived by the owners”—the art inventory was worth $380,000.  Respondent offered Howard Kaminsky, a certified art appraiser, who testified that the value of the inventory must reflect a reasonable salary for respondent’s efforts to sell the artwork.  Using Swiggum’s $716,903 valuation and subtracting $500,000 to reflect a $50,000 annual salary for ten years, the district court found that the value of the art inventory was $216,903. 

Appellant again challenged the valuation of the art inventory on appeal.  In Haefele v. Haefele, No. C9-02-1818 (Minn. App. July 8, 2003) (Haefele II), this court found three errors in the district court’s valuation of the art inventory:  (1) the district court’s valuation accounted for respondent’s salary twice, once in Swiggum’s 25% discount and again in the $500,000 deduction; (2) there was no evidentiary support for the district court’s determination that respondent would continue to work full time for ten years; and (3) there was no evidentiary support for the district court’s conclusion that $500,000 is the present value of respondent’s future income.  Haefele II, 2003 WL 21524868, at *4–*5.  Haefele II directed the district court to re-value “the art inventory in a manner not inconsistent with this opinion” and left “to the district court’s discretion the decision to reopen the record.”  Id., at *5.

On remand, the district court used Berning’s methodology and found that sales of the art inventory would yield $54,204 of income annually for five years.  The district court calculated respondent’s future income for five years and then discounted it to a present value of $194,852.  Then, relying on Berning’s and Lindberg’s testimony, the district court found that the present value of the inventory that would remain after five years is $10,819.  The district court found that the total present value of respondent’s art inventory is $205,671 and issued an amended judgment reflecting the re-valuation.  This appeal follows.


Appellant first argues that the district court exceeded the scope of this court’s remand instructions in Haefele II.   On remand, a district court must strictly execute this court’s instructions without altering, amending, or modifying the mandate.  Halverson v. Village of Deerwood, 322 N.W.2d 761, 766 (Minn. 1982); Rooney v. Rooney, 669 N.W.2d 362, 371 (Minn. App. 2003), review denied (Minn. Nov. 25, 2003).  But if on remand, the district court does not have “specific directions as to how it should proceed,” it has discretion to “proceed in any manner not inconsistent with the remand order.”  Duffey v. Duffey, 432 N.W.2d 473, 476 (Minn. App. 1988).   

  Appellant argues that by finding error in the double deduction for respondent’s salary and a lack of evidentiary support for the $500,000 deduction, this court “necessarily affirmed Mr. Swiggum’s methodology.”  Appellant contends that “[o]n remand, the only issue was how much of [Swiggum’s] 25% deduction [for the costs of sale] is attributable to [respondent’s] salary.”  The district court, appellant argues, was therefore required to use Swiggum’s $955,870 valuation and deduct from it only what the district court determined to be respondent’s salary.   

But Haefele II directed the district court to re-value “the art inventory in a manner not inconsistent with this opinion.”  Haefele II, 2003 WL 21524868, at *5.  Haefele II neither endorses nor requires the district court to use Swiggum’s methodology or his $955,870 valuation in its re-valuation.  Nor does the opinion narrow the scope of remand to a determination respondent’s salary.  Furthermore, the district court’s re-valuation is consistent with Haefele II in that it makes none of the errors identified in Haefele II.  We therefore conclude that the district court did not exceed the scope of this court’s mandate on remand.

Appellant also argues that the district court’s re-valuation is clearly erroneous.  Asset valuations are findings of fact, and we will not set them aside unless they are clearly erroneous.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01; Hertz v. Hertz, 304 Minn. 144, 145, 229 N.W.2d 42, 44 (1975).  Asset valuations that fall within the limits of credible estimates made by competent witnesses need not “coincide exactly with the estimate of any one [witness]” or exhibit.  Hertz, 304 Minn. at 145, 229 N.W.2d at 44.  Although the district court has broad discretion in the valuation of an asset, that discretion is not unlimited, and the valuation “should be supported by either clear documentary or testimonial evidence or by comprehensive findings.”  Ronnkvist v. Ronnkvist, 331 N.W.2d 764, 766 (Minn. 1983). 

Here, the district court made 22 findings summarizing the testimony regarding the art inventory and explaining the district court’s re-valuation.  These findings are supported by record evidence.  Although the record contains descriptions of different methods for arriving at a valuation of the art inventory, this court defers to the district court’s decisions concerning the weight and credibility of evidence presented at trial.  See Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 (Minn. 1988).  Because the district court’s re-valuation is within the limits testified to by the witnesses and is supported by record evidence and comprehensive findings, we conclude that the re-valuation is not clearly erroneous.