This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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






In re: Estate of Evelyn S. Sayers, Decedent.


Filed March 28, 2006

Reversed and remanded

Shumaker, Judge


Dakota County District Court

File No. P3-02-10118




Robert L. Richert, Jack D. Nelson, 1607 Pioneer Building, 336 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for appellant John Sayers)


P. James Taurinskas, 633 South Concord Street, Suite 320, P.O. Box 605, South St. Paul, MN 55075-2434 (for respondent Christopher Lehmann, personal representative)


Jeffrey D. Cahill, 200 Town Centre Professional Building, 1260 Yankee Doodle Road, Suite 200, Eagan, MN 55121-2201 (for respondent Darlene Pederson, trustee)


Richard Sayers, 21020 Cambodia Avenue, Farmington, MN 55024 (pro se respondent)


Jeremy Sayers, 6886 Lakeville Road, Lakeville, MN 55044 (pro se respondent)


Robert Sayers, 822 Macbeth Circle, Lakeville, MN 55044 (pro se respondent)


            Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge; Shumaker, Judge; and Halbrooks, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


The district court based an order in part on a stipulation among the parties.  Appellant contends that the parties never reached a stipulation.  Because there is no transcript or document in the record on appeal that shows that a stipulation had been reached, we reversed and remand.


Through a testamentary trust, decedent Robert H. Sayers left to his wife, Evelyn Sayers, a life estate in all of his property, which included various parcels of real estate.  Upon Evelyn Sayers’s death, the trust property was to be distributed among the beneficiaries, namely, sons and grandsons of the Sayerses.

When Evelyn Sayers died, a dispute arose among the beneficiaries.  The district court heard testimony and received documentary evidence in support of petitions to terminate the trust and to distribute its corpus and the property in Evelyn Sayers’s estate.  The court issued its order for various conveyances and distributions of the trust property on January 28, 2005. The court expressly based its order “upon the file and proceeding herein, and the stipulation of the parties . . . .”

Appellant John Sayers, a son of Robert and Evelyn Sayers, challenges the court’s order relating to the trust real estate denominated Parcels C and D on the ground that he never stipulated to the conveyances of those parcels and that the court’s order as to those parcels was issued in error.

Respondent Richard Sayers, a grandson of Robert and Evelyn Sayers, also argues that the parties did not agree by stipulation to the court’s order.  Respondent Darlene Pedersen, as trustee of the Robert H. Sayers trust, argues that on “information and belief” the court’s order “was the result of the agreement of all interested parties . . . ” who “were either present or represented by counsel [and] who met in chambers” with the court to discuss the alleged stipulation.  Respondent Christopher Lehmann, as personal representative of Evelyn Sayers’s estate, argues that the parties stipulated orally to the terms of the court’s order and the court incorporated the terms of the stipulation in its order.

Other than the court’s reference to its order being based, at least in part, on the parties’ stipulation, no party to the appeal has cited any portion of the record that contains the fact or the terms of the stipulation, shows approval of the conveyances and distributions the court ordered, or acknowledges expressly or impliedly that a stipulation had been reached.


The issue on appeal is not what the terms of a stipulation are or whether a stipulation is binding and enforceable, but rather whether a stipulation actually had been reached among the parties.  The district court obviously thought a stipulation had been reached because its order is based in part on that understanding.  Two of the parties contend that there was no stipulation and a third concludes only “on information and belief” that there was a stipulation.

Nothing in the record on appeal shows that the parties reached the stipulation to which the district court’s order refers.  An appellate court cannot base its decision on matters outside the record.  Holtberg v. Bommersbach, 235 Minn. 553, 554, 51 N.W.2d 586, 587 (1952).  A reviewing court may consider on appeal only those issues that the record shows were presented to the district court.  Funchess v. Cecil Newman Corp., 632 N.W.2d 666, 673 (Minn. 2001).  Furthermore, the district court record is conclusive on appeal so that a reviewing court is limited to the review of matters appearing of record.  Turner v. Alpha Phi Sorority House, 276 N.W.2d 63, 68 n.2 (Minn. 1979).

Because there is no record of the purported stipulation at issue here, we cannot conduct any meaningful review, and we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Reversed and remanded.