This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






Kenneth L. Johnson,





Elkton Township,

Clay County, Minnesota,



Buffalo-Red River Watershed District,



Filed January 17, 2006

Klaphake, Judge


Clay County District Court

File Nos. C0-04-2048 / C0-04-2051


Kenneth L. Johnson, 8196 160th Street South, Barnesville, MN  56514-9177 (pro se appellant)


Stephen F. Rufer, 110 North Mill Street, P.O. Box 866, Fergus Falls, MN  56537 (for respondent Elkton Township)


Tami L. Norgard, Michelle C. Winkis, 218 NP Avenue, P.O. Box 1389, Fargo, ND  58107-1389 (for respondent Buffalo-Red River Watershed District)


            Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Halbrooks, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Kenneth L. Johnson challenges the district court’s grant of summary judgment to respondents Elkton Township and Buffalo-Red River Watershed District and dismissing his request for reversal of a 1989 district court decision.  Because appellant’s claims against respondents were previously litigated in 1989, the district court did not err by granting summary judgment based on the doctrine of res judicata.  We therefore affirm.


            Summary judgment may be granted if there is no genuine issue of material fact and either party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03.  The doctrine of res judicata precludes the litigation of claims that previously have been litigated or could have been litigated in a former action.  Mattson v. Underwriters at Lloyds of London, 414 N.W.2d 717, 719 (Minn. 1987).  The appellate court reviews the district court’s application of res judicata as a question of law.  Care Inst., Incorp.-Roseville  v. County of Ramsey, 612 N.W.2d 443, 446 (Minn. 2000). 

            Res judicata is properly invoked when (1) there is a final judgment on the merits; (2) a subsequent suit involves the same cause of action; and (3) the parties are identical or are in privity with the former parties.  In re Trusts by Hormel, 543 N.W.2d 668, 671 (Minn. App. 1996).            Here, there was a final judgment in 1989, that judgment was affirmed by this court, and the supreme court denied review in 1990.  Buffalo-Red River Watershed Dist. v. Johnson, 1990 WL 48575 (Minn. App. Apr. 24, 1990), review denied (Minn. June 26, 1990).  In that earlier case, appellant argued that the height of the township road and dry approach promoted flooding of his land, which are the same issues raised by appellant here.  This action also involves the same parties as the prior suit. 

            In short, all of the requirements for application of res judicata are met.  The district court therefore did not err by granting summary judgment based on res judicata.      Affirmed.

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