This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
for the next-of-kin of
Filed January 31, 2006
Mille Lacs County District Court
File No. C6-04-0243
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
Appellants, who intervened in this action to distribute the proceeds of a settlement received by respondents, challenge the district court’s denial of their claims to part of the proceeds. They argue that the district court failed to properly consider their pecuniary loss, as required by Minn. Stat. § 573.02 (2004). Because the district court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.
Appellants argue that the district court abused its discretion by examining only the current circumstances and their lack of a relationship with the deceased minor at the time of his death, rather than considering the evidence that appellant Donald Kuperus had a significant relationship with his son until he was five years old, when Kuperus claims he was forced to leave the state due to respondent Deborah Ellingson’s vindictive behavior. Kuperus claims that he submitted enough evidence to show that he had a past relationship with his son and that he could reasonably expect to enjoy a future relationship with him.
involving the death of children, factors which shed light on [pecuniary loss]
are the decedent’s age, intelligence, academic achievement, wages earned,
career prospects, and care and devotion to parents.” Ahrenholz
v. Hennepin County, 295 N.W.2d 645, 648 (
lack of any acts of service on the part of the decedent towards Kuperus or towards
the decedent’s other half-siblings, whom he did not even know existed, supports
the district court’s determination that appellants sustained no pecuniary
loss. Cf. Murphy v. Duluth-Superior Bus Co., 200
While Kuperus presented some evidence to suggest that the decedent may have thought about him and may have wondered about living with him someday, the district court was free to conclude that this evidence was insufficient to support a reasonable expectation that the decedent would have provided Kuperus or the other appellants with any advice, comfort, or assistance had he lived. As respondents state, “[a]bsent [any] clear, concrete, specific, and real examples of particular contributions of service” and “absent developing the relationship beyond the mere expectancy for a richer relationship” in the future, this court cannot conclude that the district court abused its discretion by determining that appellants failed to prove that they suffered any pecuniary loss.
We therefore affirm the decision of the district court.