This opinion will be unpublished and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
Argosy Electronics, Inc.,
Premium Hearing Aid Center,
Filed September 24, 1996
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 9418312
Vincent J. Fahnlander, Klay C. Ahrens, Moss & Barnett, P.A., 4800 Norwest Center, 90 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402-4129 (for Respondent)
Kyle J. Hegna, Rebecca L. Wilson, Wilkerson, Hegna & Walsten, P.L.L.P., 1100 Northland Plaza, 3800 West 80th Street, Bloomington, MN 55431-4426 (for Appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Ross Western argues the district court erred in denying his motion for a new trial because: (1) the district court's judgment was not supported by the evidence, and (2) Western was entitled to a new trial under Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 because he lacked sufficient time to develop his case for trial. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
Argosy Electronics sued Western and the Premium Hearing Aid Center to recover a debt on an account. The defendants failed to appear at a December 15, 1995, pretrial conference. The district court continued the conference to December 18. Later on Decemberthe district court held a bench trial and entered judgment for Argosy. Western petitioned for a reconsideration or a new trial.
Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.
- Findings of fact, whether based on oral or documentary evidence, shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous, and due regard shall be given to the trial court to judge the credibility of witnesses.
Western argues insufficiency of the evidence, claiming the district court improperly relied on a nonexistent admission that Western received a shipment of hearing aids at his residence. We disagree. Whether the admission occurred is not determinative because the district court explained that its ruling was based on the overall credibility of Western's testimony and that the admission was only a further confirmation of its evaluation. Further, (1) Argosy invoices indicated that hearing aids had been shipped to Western's residence; and (2) Western testified he could not recall precisely where he lived at the time the hearing aids were shipped, but believed he resided at the residence that received the hearing aids. This testimony sufficiently supported the district court's determination that Western, despite his denials, received hearing aids from Argosy.
A district court may relieve a party from a judgment and order a new trial for "[a]ny other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment." Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(f). A reviewing court will not reverse a district court's decision on a motion for a new trial absent a clear abuse of discretion. Halla Nursery v. Baumann-Furrie & Co., 454 N.W.2d 905, 910 (Minn. 1990) (citation omitted).
Western asserts that the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial because the short interval between the morning pretrial conference and the bench trial on the afternoon of December 18 denied him an opportunity to develop his case fully and present relevant evidence. We disagree.
Review of the trial transcripts reveals no objection to the timing of the trial and no request for a continuance. Further, Western's counsel indicated he was ready to proceed to trial on December 18. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion for a new trial because Western never indicated that he was unprepared for trial. Raising the issue of inadequate preparation time only after the close of the trial prevented the district court from taking appropriate measures. See Richardson v. Employers Mut. Cas. Ins., 424 N.W.2d 317, 320 (Minn. App. 1988) (holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to grant relief under rule 60.02 for issues never raised at trial).
Further, we conclude Western had sufficient time to prepare his case for trial. Four and one-half years had passed since Argosy filed its complaint. A scheduling order effective November 9, 1995, more than one month before the trial, closed discovery and alerted the parties that their case would proceed to trial at the next civil trial term. Although on appeal Western argues he needed time to depose another witness, Western did not request an extension on discovery to permit a deposition. Similarly, Western now asserts he needed more time to produce a handwriting expert to evaluate the security documents, but did not obtain such an expert during discovery. The district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to grant Western a new trial.