This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Joanne S. Peterson,
Star Mountain Farms, Inc., et al.,
Harold Peterson, individually and as
Conservator of the Estate of
Edna Peterson, intervenor,
Filed June 4, 1996
Itasca County District Court
File No. C3-95-887
Robert H. Stephenson, 1000 Lincoln Building, P.O. Box 958, Virginia, MN 55792 (for Respondent)
Andrew M. Shaw, Shaw & Shaw, P.O. Box 365, Deer River, MN 56636 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Crippen, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Schultz, Judge.*
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Harold Peterson challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to intervene in respondent Joanne Peterson's action to quiet title to certain property and to enforce a judgment lien of $106,440.13 for child support arrearages by attachment of the property. Because we conclude that the trial court properly denied Harold Peterson's motion to intervene, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
A trial court must grant an applicant intervention of right in an action
when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant's ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties.
Minn. R .Civ. P. 24.01. Trial courts apply a four-part test to determine whether to allow intervention, which requires the applicant to demonstrate the following:
(1) a timely application for intervention; (2) an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action; (3) circumstances demonstrating that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the party's ability to protect that interest; and (4) a showing that the party is not adequately represented by the existing parties.
Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Schumacher, 392 N.W.2d 197, 207 (Minn. 1986). A court reviewing an order denying intervention as of right may "independently assess the appropriateness of the order." Norman v. Refsland, 383 N.W.2d 673, 676 (Minn. 1986).
After our review of the record, we conclude that the trial court properly denied Harold Peterson's motion to intervene. Harold Peterson made satisfactory showings of the first and fourth factors to support his claim of intervention. His intervention application was timely, and he is not adequately represented by existing parties, who defaulted in the underlying action. He failed to establish the second and third factors, however. He has demonstrated neither an interest in the subject property nor circumstances impairing his ability to protect that interest.
In order to demonstrate a protectable interest, the party claiming the interest must show "specific authority" for the interest. Weiler v. Lutz, 501 N.W.2d 667, 670 (Minn. App. 1993) (foster parents desiring to intervene in CHIPS proceedings for foster child must show "specific authority" for interest), aff'd sub nom, Valentine v. Lutz, 512 N.W.2d 868 (Minn. 1994). Joanne Peterson contends, and the trial court agreed, that Harold Peterson was divested of any interest in the property when he sold it for $31,000 in 1992. Harold Peterson now claims that his actual intent was to gift the property to his seven grandchildren and that he should be allowed to reform the deed to effectuate this donative intent.
A trial court has authority to reform a deed. Theros v. Phillips, 256 N.W.2d 852, 857 (Minn. 1977). The documentary evidence, however, establishes no basis for reforming the deed in this case. First, the warranty deed transferring the property specifically names as grantee Star Mountain Farms, Inc., a Wisconsin corporation wholly owned by Larry Peterson, Harold Peterson's son and Joanne Peterson's ex-husband. Second, the North Dakota corporation which Harold Peterson now claims was the intended grantee, Star Mountain, Inc., did not exist at the time of the property transfer in 1992. While the deed and certificate of real estate value listed a post office box in the same North Dakota town in which Harold Peterson resides as the grantee's address, this does not establish Harold Peterson's intent to donate the property to his grandchildren, the sole shareholders of Star Mountain, Inc. Third, the deed, certificate of real estate value, and various statements of Larry Peterson in his post-dissolution proceedings, establish that Larry Peterson paid $31,000 for the property. Tax records further support that the property was sold for $31,000 and was not a gift to Larry Peterson or his children. Under these circumstances, Harold Peterson has not established that he has a protectable interest in the proceedings involving the property.
We agree with the trial court's conclusion that by making allegations directly contradicting his own past actions and the documentary evidence, Harold Peterson intended to hinder and delay Joanne Peterson's proper collection of child support arrearages. Where there is "sham," the trial court has no duty to accept the pleadings of the intervenor as true. See Snyder's Drug Stores, Inc. v. Minnesota State Bd. of Pharmacy, 301 Minn. 28, 31, 221 N.W.2d 162, 164 (1974).
* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, sec. 10.