This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

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








Patrick Enow Takuanyi,





Allstate Insurance Company, et al.,




Filed March 21, 2006


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. C6-04-4174



Patrick E. Takuanyi, Post Office Box 75341, St. Paul, MN 55175 (pro se appellant)


Shane H. Anderson, Mackall, Crounse & Moore, PLC, 1400 AT&T Tower, 901 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondents)


            Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Randall, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

            Appellant challenges a judgment granting respondents’ motion to enforce the settlement of appellant’s action and dismissing the action.  Because the finding that appellant’s attorney had authority to settle is not clearly erroneous, we affirm.


Appellant Patrick Enow Takuanyi brought this action against respondents Allstate Insurance Company and Deerbrook Insurance Company, insurers of the driver with whom appellant was riding when he was injured, and Allstate adjuster Mike Struebing. Following a mediation session, respondents’ attorney offered a settlement, which appellant’s attorney accepted two days later.  Appellant then repudiated the settlement on the ground that his attorney had lacked authority to settle, and respondents moved to have the settlement enforced.  Their motion was granted.  

An appeal from a decision on a motion to enforce a settlement agreement is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.  Johnson v. St. Paul Ins. Cos., 305 N.W.2d 571, 573 (Minn. 1981).  “Whether appellant[’s] attorney had authority to settle [his] claim is a question of fact; as such, the trial court’s resolution of the issue will be upheld unless clearly erroneous.”  Triple B & G, Inc. v. City of Fairmont, 494 N.W.2d 49, 52 (Minn. App. 1992).  “Findings of fact are considered clearly erroneous only if they are not reasonably supported by the evidence.”  Fletcher v. St. Paul Pioneer Press, 589 N.W.2d 96, 102 (Minn. 1999).

Authority to settle may be oral.  Schumann v. Northtown Ins. Agency, Inc., 452 N.W.2d 482, 483 (Minn. App. 1990) (“[A] written agreement is not a prerequisite to the enforcement of a settlement.”).  Oral authority need not be express.   Austin Farm Ctr., Inc. v. Austin Grain Co., 418 N.W.2d 181, 185 (Minn. App. 1988) (“Oral settlements are recognized as binding without express authority [for the attorney to settle] under three other theories: implied authority, estoppel, and ratification.”).

Appellant testified that, on the last day the settlement offer was open, he went to his attorney’s office, where

I told him that I will not settle.   So he began to argue with me. . . . because of all that pressure, confusion, I said, okay, you know, I am leaving your office, do what you want, you are the lawyer on this case because—you know, out of anger.  So I went out.  And that very same day I called and tell him, I hope you didn’t get any misunderstanding, that I will not settle this case, I want my case to go to trial so that the jury can decide.


But the testimony of three attorneys conflicted with appellant’s testimony.  Respondents’ attorney testified that, on the last day the offer was open, “[appellant’s attorney] called me and said that [appellant] has accepted the offer.”  Appellant’s attorney testified that:  “[Appellant] was in my office on [that day], and he said, yes, we’ll take the agreement.  And I called defense counsel and I accepted the agreement.”  Appellant’s co-counsel’s testimony corroborated this: she testified that she had “nothing to add at this point, because both [appellant’s attorney] and myself were present in his office when all of this discussion and telephone calls were going on.”  When the district court asked appellant’s attorney, “Did you get a call . . . from your client saying he didn’t want to do this [i.e., settle]?”, the attorney answered,  “No, we accepted.  He was in my office when I made the call. . . . He was right there when I called [respondents’ attorney], and I am glad that I had other counsel in this case, because it would have been my word against his.”  Thus, the hearing transcript provides ample support for the district court’s implicit finding that appellant’s attorney had authority to accept the settlement agreement. 

            When an attorney who has authority accepts a settlement agreement, courts will enforce that settlement.  See, e.g., Ghostley v. Hetland, 295 Minn. 376, 378, 204 N.W.2d 821, 823 (1973) (party’s claim to have misunderstood terms of settlement did not entitle him to set aside settlement after his attorney had accepted it); Triple B & G, 494 N.W.2d at 51-52 (attorney who wrote in settlement letter that he had authority to propose two alternative settlement options could not later claim not to have had that authority).   The district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering enforcement of the settlement.