This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Patrick E. Takuanyi,
The Office of Lawyers Professional
Responsibility, et al.,
Filed May 30, 2006
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C6-04-11772
Patrick E. Takuanyi,
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Amy
V. Kvalseth, Assistant Attorney General,
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Willis, Judge; and Crippen, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district court’s order dismissing his defamation claim. Because we agree with the district court that appellant’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations, we affirm.
Patrick E. Takuanyi challenges the dismissal of his defamation claim against
respondents Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) and named
individuals involved in the investigation of an ethics complaint that Takuanyi
filed. The material facts are not
disputed. In August 2002, Takuanyi filed
an ethics complaint with the OLPR against a lawyer who had represented
him. The OLPR assigned the investigation
of the complaint to respondent William Hull, a member of the Hennepin County
District Ethics Committee (the committee).
committee approved the report and adopted the recommendation that Takuanyi’s
ethics complaint be dismissed. After
reviewing the report and the committee’s recommendation, respondent Betty Shaw,
then the senior assistant director in the OLPR, agreed that discipline was
unwarranted. And on October 24, 2002,
she signed a letter determination that discipline was not warranted, attached
the memorandum containing the allegedly defamatory statement, and mailed copies
of these documents to Takuanyi; the respondent attorney;
Takuanyi appealed the October 24, 2002 decision to OLPR’s acting director. On November 8, 2002, respondent Neil Meyer, a volunteer member of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, was assigned the task of reviewing the dismissal of Takuanyi’s ethics complaint. On December 9, 2002, Meyer approved the OLPR’s dismissal in a letter that he sent to Takuanyi; the respondent attorney; and to respondent Kenneth L. Jorgensen, then the director of the OLPR. The allegedly defamatory statement was not included in or attached to this communication.
On December 7, 2004, Takuanyi served the OLPR with a summons and complaint that alleged that respondents made defamatory statements that injured his reputation. Respondents moved to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment.
After considering the pleadings and the parties’ affidavits, the district court issued an order dismissing Takuanyi’s complaint, concluding that (1) the action was barred by the two-year statute of limitations, (2) respondents were immune from liability under the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility, and (3) the allegedly defamatory communication is absolutely privileged and cannot serve as a basis for liability. This appeal follows.
D E C I S I O N
a party brings a rule 12 motion to dismiss and the district court considers
matters outside the pleadings, the motion shall be treated as one for summary
judgment under rule 56.
judgment shall be granted “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that either
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Takuanyi argues that the district court erred by concluding that (1) his defamation action is barred by the statute of limitations; (2) the board is immune from liability under Rule 21(b) of the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility; and (3) the allegedly defamatory statement is absolutely privileged under Rule 21(a) of the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility.
actions are subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
Here, the memorandum containing the allegedly defamatory statement was created before October 2, 2002, and it was distributed to the committee by that date. The memorandum was then distributed by mail on October 24, 2002, with the OLPR’s determination that discipline was not warranted. Takuanyi appealed that determination; and the file, which included the memorandum, was assigned to Meyer on November 8, 2002. This is the last distribution of the memorandum that appears in the record.
civil action is commenced against a defendant when the summons is served on a
Takuanyi argues that he was under a medical disability that tolled the statute of limitations. Minn. Stat. § 541.07 does not provide such an exception. And medical disabilities are not mentioned in the statute listing the disabilities suspending “the running of the period of limitation.” See Minn. Stat. § 541.15 (2004) (allowing the suspension of a period of limitations when: (1) the plaintiff is under the age of 18 years; (2) the plaintiff is insane; (3) the plaintiff is an alien and the subject or citizen of a country at war with the United States; or (4) when the beginning of the action is stayed by injunction or by statutory prohibition.) Takuanyi provides no legal authority to support his argument that his claimed disabilities suspended the statute of limitations.
Because we conclude that Takuanyi’s defamation action is barred by the statute of limitations under Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1), we do not reach Takuanyi’s other arguments.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.