may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Douglas L. Bell, et al.,
Stanley J. Beireis, et al.,
Filed November 10, 1998
Scott County District Court
File No. 9701240
Donald Andrew Perron, Gregory M. Miller, Davis, Dodd, Levine & Miller, Ltd., 1219 Marquette Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for appellants)
James D. Bates, Huemoeller & Bates, 16670 Franklin Trail, Prior Lake, MN 55373 (for respondents)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
Appellant claims the district court abused its discretion in finding that the police ordered the towing of appellant's vehicles because the evidence in the record does not support this finding. We disagree.
The district court has broad discretion to apportion weight to the evidence and to judge the credibility of witnesses. In re Welfare of S.A.M., 570 N.W.2d 162, 167 (Minn. App. 1997). Here, respondent testified that: (1) when he asked the police about appellant's vehicles, he was told they "would take care of it"; and (2) the police requested the towing. From this evidence the district court could reasonably infer the police made arrangements to have the vehicles towed. Only one witness testified in a contrary fashion, and he was relying upon towing slips that were four years old. The district court's determination that the police made arrangements to have the vehicles towed will not be disturbed on appeal because we do not have a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made.
Appellant also claims the district court abused its discretion in finding that the towed vehicles lacked license plates and/or current registration when they were towed. We disagree.
Respondent testified that the police told him that they had been watching the vehicles, "and that they are all under the city code violations of no plates and this and that." Shakopee Ordinance 10.74 states:
It is unlawful to park or store any unlicensed, unregistered or inoperable vehicle * * * on any property, public or private, unless housed within a building, and any violation is hereby declared to be a nuisance.
(Emphasis added.) When the police statement is viewed in conjunction with the ordinance, it is reasonable to infer that the vehicles were unlicensed, unregistered, or both unlicensed and unregistered at the time they were towed. While appellant offered some evidence which indicated the vehicles may have had license plates, there is no evidence in the record indicating the vehicles had current registration. We do not have a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made; the district court could reasonably conclude the vehicles were either unlicensed, unregistered, or both unlicensed and unregistered at the time they were towed.
Finally, appellant argues that the district court abused its discretion in not finding that respondent committed misconduct at trial. Appellant's two allegations of misconduct involve photographs of the vehicles in question. Appellant first argues that respondent perjured himself by denying that the photographs showed license plates. Second, appellant claims respondent purposely refrained from offering four photographs into evidence because the photographs "clearly and distinctly" showed license plates on the vehicles in question.
In rejecting both of these assertions, the district court found that it was questionable whether the photographs "clearly and distinctly" showed the vehicles had license plates. Moreover, the court noted that respondent did submit the negatives of the relevant photographs at trial.
This court must give deference to the district court's findings with respect to factual disputes. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. The district court had the opportunity to assess the credibility of witnesses. Moreover, we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the district court's decision. Weber v. United Parcel Serv., 358 N.W.2d 476, 477 (Minn. App. 1984). We conclude the district court's findings are reasonably supported by evidence in the record considered as a whole.