This opinion will
be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Joseph O. Dixon,
and Joseph O. Dixon,
AHR Construction, Inc.,
August 28, 2007
Affirmed; motion to strike dismissed as moot
File Nos. 27CVHC061903 and
Bradley J. Loch, 5840
Hodgson Road, Shoreview, MN 55126
(for respondent AHR Construction)
Joseph O. Dixon, Box
580050, Minneapolis, MN 55458
(pro se appellant)
and decided by Shumaker,
Presiding Judge; Toussaint,
Chief Judge; and Stoneburner,
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
these consolidated appeals, pro se appellant challenges (1) the district
court’s issuance of a writ of recovery to respondent for property that
respondent bought at a foreclosure sale and (2) the district court’s grant of
summary judgment dismissing appellant’s conversion action against respondent. Because respondent was entitled to possession
of the property and there are no genuine issues of material fact in the conversion
action, we affirm both decisions.
This matter involves the
consolidated appeals of two actions involving the same parties. Appellant Joseph O. Dixon is the former owner
of residential property located at 1710
Fremont Avenue, Minneapolis
(the property). The property was
condemned by the City of Minneapolis
on February 7, 2003. Respondent AHR
Construction, Inc. (AHR) bought the property at a mortgage-foreclosure sale on
January 5, 2006. The sale was recorded
in the Hennepin County Recorder’s Office on January 6, 2006.
Based on its belief that the
property had been abandoned, AHR petitioned on January 9, 2006, to reduce the
six-month redemption period to five weeks.
On January 10, 2006, AHR entered the premises with the objective of
changing the locks as permitted by Minn. Stat. § 582.031, subd. 2 (2006),
to prevent waste. At that time, AHR discovered
that Dixon was still living in the condemned premises. AHR left the property and withdrew its
petition to accelerate the redemption period.
The eviction action
Dixon did not redeem the property, and the
redemption period ended on July 5, 2006.
On July 6, 2006, AHR filed an unlawful-detainer complaint against Dixon,
asserting a right to possession of the property (the eviction action). The district court held a hearing on July
31. Dixon testified at the hearing. He acknowledged that there was a sheriff’s
certificate of sale and that he had not redeemed the property within the
redemption period, but he attempted to challenge the foreclosure. Based on Dixon’s
admission to the allegations in the eviction action, the district court granted
AHR a writ of recovery but delayed the effective date of the writ to August 8,
2006, to give Dixon
time to initiate an appropriate action to challenge the foreclosure and request
Dixon did not initiate an action to challenge
the foreclosure, and the writ was executed on August 16, 2006. Dixon
was evicted, and his personal property was stored on the property. On August 16, 2006, Dixon moved to quash the writ. The motion was denied by the district court’s
order dated August 18, 2006. Dixon appealed and moved
the district court to stay his eviction pending resolution of his appeal. The motion was denied.
The conversion action
On July 24, 2006, Dixon filed a document captioned “Joseph
Dixon, Plaintiff v. AHR Construction, Inc., Defendant” and titled in relevant
part “MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANT’S COMPLAINT IN ITS ENTIRETY, RETURN
PLAINTIFF’S REAL ESTATE PROPERTY HOME . . . MOTION TO BAR
DEFENDANT FROM BRINGING ANY OTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST PLAINTIFF.” For reasons not explained in the record, this
document, which was not accompanied with a Summons, was treated as a complaint
and resulted in the opening of Hennepin County Court File No. 27-CV-06-014021
(the conversion action). Among other allegations, Dixon asserts in this document that his home
was “obtained by theft, criminal conspiracy and organized crime”; that defendant
vandalized the home on January 10 and 13; and that the mortgage company acted
illegally. Dixon demanded $10 million in compensatory
AHR moved for summary judgment
supported by the affidavit of its attorney outlining the history of AHR’s
purchase at the foreclosure sale, AHR’s attempt to change the locks on the
property in January 2006, Dixon’s failure to
redeem during the redemption period, AHR’s unlawful-detainer action, issuance
and execution of the writ, and Dixon’s
post-writ motions. AHR’s affidavit
explains that (1) a res judicata claim in Dixon’s “motion” refers to AHR’s
cancellation of its request to accelerate the redemption period in January
2006; (2) AHR is not a party to the federal litigation referred to by Dixon
against his mortgage company and its assignees; and (3) the vandalism claim
relates to AHR’s attempt to change the locks at the property, during which, AHR
asserts, no damage to the property occurred.
Dixon opposed AHR’s motion for summary
judgment and made a cross-motion for summary judgment supported by his
affidavit stating that AHR illegally entered the property on January 10 and
January 13, 2006, and caused damage to the property on both occasions. But Dixon’s
motion states that the “focus” of his lawsuit is the “conversion” of his real
and personal property by AHR on August 18, 2006.
By order dated October 19, 2006, the
district court granted summary judgment to AHR primarily based on Dixon’s failure to submit
probative evidence supporting his claim for damages. This appeal followed and was consolidated
appeal in the eviction action.
E C I S I O N
Dixon first argues that the district court
erred when it evicted him from the property.
“Numerous precedents establish the limited nature and scope of an
eviction proceeding, which is summary in nature.” AMRESCO
Residential Mortgage Corp. v. Stange, 631 N.W.2d 444, 445 (Minn. App. 2001). In an eviction proceeding, “the only issue
for determination is whether the facts alleged in the complaint are true.” Minneapolis Cmty. Dev. Agency v. Smallwood, 379
N.W.2d 554, 555 (Minn. App. 1985), review denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1986); see also Minn. Stat. § 504B.355 (2006). This court applies a clearly erroneous
standard of review to the district court’s findings of fact. Minneapolis Cmty. Dev. Agency, 379 N.W.2d at 555.
“The person entitled to the premises
may recover possession by eviction when . . . any person
holds over real property . . . on foreclosure of a mortgage
and expiration of the time for redemption.”
Stat. § 504B.285, subd. 1(1)(ii) (2006).
In this case, Dixon acknowledged that the property was sold by the
sheriff’s office at a foreclosure sale and that he did not redeem the
property. The district court did not err
in finding that AHR was entitled to possession of the property.
Dixon also challenges the validity
of the underlying foreclosure. But
challenges to a foreclosure cannot be raised in an unlawful-detainer action and
must be asserted in a separate proceeding.
See AMRESCO, 631 N.W.2d at 446 (upholding a district court’s dismissal
of counterclaims that challenged the underlying foreclosure in an eviction
proceeding). In AMRESCO, this court declined to expand the summary nature of
eviction proceedings and explained that the summary nature of the proceedings
reinforced the public policy of preventing parties from taking matters into
their own hands. Id. Furthermore, AHR is not the mortgage company,
and the mortgage company was not involved in the eviction action. Dixon’s challenge to the grant of the writ of
recovery to AHR is without merit.
Dixon asserts that the district court erred
when it granted summary judgment to AHR in the conversion action. On appeal from summary judgment, appellate
courts ask two questions: (1) whether there are any genuine issues of material
fact and (2) whether the district court erred in its application of the law. State by
Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn.
1990). On appeal, the reviewing court
must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom
judgment was granted. Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993). No genuine issue for trial exists “where the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
nonmoving party.” DLH, Inc. v. Russ, 566 N.W.2d 60, 69 (Minn. 1997) (quotation omitted). To defeat a summary-judgment motion, a party
“must do more than rest on mere averments” and must establish a genuine issue
for trial with substantial evidence. Id.
The record supports the district
court’s conclusion that Dixon
failed to produce probative evidence that would give rise to a genuine issue of
material fact, precluding summary judgment on any of his claims against AHR. Dixon’s
affidavit alleges that AHR damaged his property on two dates, including the
date that AHR asserts that AHR came to change the locks. But Dixon has not produced any evidence of
the amount of damage he claims AHR caused to the property, and he has only
asserted an unsupported total damage claim in the amount of $10 million. See
DLH, Inc, 566 N.W.2d at 70 (stating
that when determining whether a genuine issue of material fact for trial
exists, the court is not required to ignore its conclusion that a particular
piece of evidence may have no probative value, such that reasonable persons
could not draw different conclusions from the evidence presented). Additionally, because AHR was entitled to
possession of the property and continually instructed Dixon
about how he could recover his personal property, there is no merit to Dixon’s claim that AHR
converted his property. The district
court did not err in granting summary judgment to AHR.
Dixon argues that documents in AHR’s
appendix to its reply brief in the conversion appeal should be stricken because
they are not in the record. The record
on appeal is limited to “[t]he papers filed in the [district] court, the
exhibits, and the transcript of the proceedings.” Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.01. Several pages of AHR’s appendices are not
contained in the district court file.
But theses documents provide only undisputed background information, and
AHR’s attorney’s sworn affidavit detailing this background information is part
of the record. Furthermore, this court
has not relied on the disputed documents to reach its decision in this
appeal. We conclude that the motion to
strike is moot.
motion to strike dismissed as moot.