This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Rodger D. Robb, II,
Cal Ludeman, et al.,
Filed May 8, 2007
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C7-06-3040
Larry Schultz, 1111 Highway 73, Moose Lake, MN 55767 (pro se appellant)
Rodger D. Robb, II, 1111 Highway 73, Moose Lake, MN 55767 (pro se appellant)
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Jonathan Geffen, Assistant Attorney General, 900 Bremer Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondents)
Considered and decided by Stoneburner, Presiding Judge, Minge, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
Appellants Larry Schultz and Rodger Robb dispute the adequacy of district court findings on factors permitting the court to deny a temporary injunction against the state. Because the record is adequate to support the district court’s findings, we affirm.
Appellants are patients in the Therapeutic Concepts Unit (TCU) at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) treatment center in St. Peter. The state recently expanded MSOP’s facilities by adding an annex to the Moose Lake treatment center as a temporary solution to an immediate need for additional secure treatment facilities. The sleeping rooms at the annex are smaller than those at the Moose Lake and St. Peter sites, and the rooms have fewer electrical outlets.
The state issued a revised property protocol disallowing personal computers in the MSOP TCU patients’ sleeping rooms to “further programmatic purposes and to accommodate the MSOP Annex’s physical limitations.” The memorandum instructed TCU patients to remove their personal computers and reported that thereafter they would be provided access to common-use computers.
Following an escape of four TCU patients at MSOP’s St. Peter location, patients’ computers were immediately removed from their rooms for security inspections. Appellants anticipated that appellant Robb’s computer would not be returned or would be destroyed and other property would be confiscated. They moved for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction to prevent the state from withholding any of appellants’ personal property or confiscating additional property, and from relocating appellants to the Moose Lake annex or “disadvantageous housing” within MSOP or involuntarily separating appellants during the litigation. The district court, addressing the governing factors on temporary injunctions, denied appellants’ motion and emphasized that appellants had “fallen far short” of showing that they would suffer irreparable harm or a violation of their rights and, therefore, had not shown a “likelihood of success on the merits.”
D E C I S I O N
“A decision on whether to grant a temporary injunction is left to the discretion of the trial court and will not be overturned on review absent a clear abuse of that discretion.” Carl Bolander & Sons Co. v. City of Minneapolis, 502 N.W.2d 203, 209 (Minn. 1993). The party seeking the injunction must establish that the injunction is necessary to prevent irreparable harm and that the legal remedy is inadequate. Cherne Indus., Inc. v. Grounds & Assocs., Inc., 278 N.W.2d 81, 92 (Minn. 1979). On review, we consider the facts in the light most favorable to the prevailing party. Bud Johnson Constr. Co. v. Metro. Transit Comm’n, 272 N.W.2d 31, 33 (Minn. 1978).
We review the district court’s decision by determining whether the district court properly considered the following factors: (1) the nature and relationship of the parties; (2) the balance of relative harm between the parties; (3) the likelihood of success on the merits; (4) public-policy considerations; and (5) any administrative burden involving judicial supervision and enforcement. Dahlberg Bros., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 272 Minn. 264, 274-75, 137 N.W.2d 314, 321-22 (1965).
Appellants argue that the district court’s findings on the governingfactors were not supported by the record. But the record establishes that the court properly considered each factor regarding appellants’ request to enjoin the state from withholding any of appellants’ personal property or confiscating additional property. The record permitted the court finding that appellants had “fallen far short” of showing that they would suffer irreparable harm and did not identify rights that had been infringed upon by the personal property protocol, and, therefore, could not show a “likelihood of success on the merits.” Appellants argue that the state infringed upon their due process rights under U.S. Const. amend. V and Minn. Const. art. I, § 7 because they were deprived of property interests. Although the protocol does not allow personal computers in the patients’ rooms, they have access to common-use computers and may transfer appropriate data from their personal computer hard drives to disks. Appellants speculate that the state intends to destroy Robb’s computer and appellants’ other property. Because he has copious amounts of saved material on his computer, Robb speculates that it would be impossible to put it onto disks.
Appellants cite no evidence to support these contentions. And it is important for the state to have the ability to adjust policies to further MSOP’s safety goals. Gary Grimm, MSOP program director, specifically denies appellants’ contentions in his affidavit, stating “if the patient does not send out his computer, [MSOP] will place it in storage. [MSOP] will not destroy or otherwise dispose of patients’ computers.” Considering the facts in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, Bud Johnson Constr., 272 N.W.2d at 33, appellants’ contentions are without support.
The relationship between the parties is that appellants are committed in the TCU at MSOP, and respondents operate the treatment facility pursuant to Minn. R. 9515.3040 (2005). The district court found that the statutory requirements allow the state “wide latitude” to develop programs and policies for the administration of the program, including disallowing contraband contained on computers. This is consistent with the articulated policy to maintain a “secure and orderly environment that is safe for persons in treatment and staff and supportive of the treatment program.” Minn. R. 9515.3080, subp. 1 (2005).
As the district court found, it would be a heavy administrative burden to require that the district court review each item of personal property to determine whether it complies with protocol. Absent a clear violation of the patients’ rights, the state must exercise its professional judgment to accommodate a growing patient population and provide a safe and secure facility for patients and staff. On the current record, it was not an abuse of discretion for the district court, after considering each of the governing factors, to deny appellants’ motion to temporarily enjoin the state from holding or confiscating appellants’ personal property.
Appellants also argue that the district court erred when it failed to consider appellants’ request to enjoin the state from transferring appellants to the Moose Lake annex or other “disadvantageous housing” or involuntarily separating them during the course of the litigation. A district court must make specific findings of fact and conclusions of law. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. But where the record is clear and the facts are not in dispute, the district court’s decision can be upheld absent the findings required under rule 52.01. Crowley Co. v. Metro. Airports Comm’n, 394 N.W.2d 542, 545 (Minn. App. 1986).
Following the state’s filing of its appellate brief on September 22, 2006, it acknowledged that “well after” the May 12, 2006 hearing on appellants’ motion for a temporary injunction, the state decided to move appellants to the Moose Lake annex, “the same as other residents in their unit.” Although it is unclear when the state made this decision, the state has withdrawn from its appellate brief the statement that “[c]urrently” there were no such plans, replacing it with “[a]t the time of hearing on [a]ppellants’ TRO motion,” there were no such plans. This change implies that the state made its decision to move appellants sometime between May 12 and September 22.
This acknowledgment divides the state’s equities in the case. Because events after May 12 do not affect the merits of the district court’s decision that there was no evidence of irreparable harm, the record discloses a situation not unlike appellants’ speculation that damage to their computers and other property would occur in the implementation of the state’s plans. Although there is no error in the district court’s viewing these observations as entirely speculative in May 2006, nothing in this opinion is intended to be prejudicial with regard to appellants’ rights respecting any relevant claims arising after May 12, 2006.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.