may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Michael A. Alada,
Michael A. Egi,
Filed December 22, 1998
Affirmed; motion to strike granted; motion for fees denied
Washington County District Court
File No. C7-97-1974
Englebert Akong, 127 West Grant, Suite E, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Klaphake, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
Michael Egi appeals from an order denying his motion to vacate the default judgment against him. Respondent moves to strike portions of Egi's brief and requests attorney fees. We affirm the district court's decision, grant the motion to strike, and deny the request for fees.
Michael Alada sued Michael Egi in conciliation court for failure to transfer title to a car after Alada allegedly bought from Egi. Egi counterclaimed. The conciliation court awarded judgment for $620 to Egi.
When Alada removed the matter to district court under Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 521(e), the court vacated the conciliation court judgment. Egi did not appear at the trial, so the matter proceeded by default. The court found that, although Alada had paid Egi the full purchase price, Egi had refused to provide the certificate of title. Therefore, the court ordered the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to issue a title and registration for the car and awarded Alada a total judgment of $510 against Egi for costs incurred in bringing the action.
Egi moved to vacate the default judgment, claiming that he had a reasonable defense because he could show that another judge had awarded him $600 on the merits of the case. No affidavit or exhibits accompanied the motion.
After a hearing, the court denied the motion. The court reasoned that, although Egi had acted promptly after receiving notice of the judgment, he had failed to show any defense to Alada's claim. The fact that Egi had received a conciliation court judgment was irrelevant, the court stated, as the proceeding in district court was de novo. The court denied Alada's request for attorney fees, finding the motion had not been filed in bad faith.
The record on appeal consists of "[t]he papers filed in the trial court, the exhibits, and the transcript of the proceedings." Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.01. Egi's brief contains information outside the trial court record. We therefore grant Alada's request to strike this information.
Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 provides in part as follows:
On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from final judgment *** and may order a new trial or grant such other relief as may be just for the following reasons: (1) Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.
The decision to open a default judgment rests within the trial court's discretion and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. Kosloski v. Jones, 295 Minn. 177, 180, 203 N.W.2d 401, 403 (1973). Relief from a default judgment is proper if four factors are satisfied:
defendant has a reasonable defense on the merits; defendant has a reasonable excuse for his failure to answer; defendant acted with due diligence after notice of the entry of judgment; and no substantial prejudice will result to other parties.
Coller v. Guardian Angels Roman Catholic Church, 294 N.W.2d 712, 715 (Minn. 1980). Trial is de novo when a conciliation court matter is removed to district court. Minn. R. Gen. Pract. 521(a). Egi's reliance on the conciliation court outcome to establish his reasonable defense is misplaced. The conciliation court judgment is of no effect and the determination in that proceeding is not pertinent to the district court proceeding.
The court found Egi acted promptly after receiving notice of the default judgment, although the court did not address the issues of reasonable excuse and substantial prejudice. The absence of any evidence to establish a reasonable defense, however, is dispositive. The trial court appropriately denied the motion to vacate the default judgment.
Attorney fees may be awarded upon finding a party acted in bad faith, asserted a frivolous claim, or asserted an unfounded position solely to delay proceedings. Minn. Stat. § 549.211 (Supp. 1997). The trial court denied Alada's multiple requests for attorney fees, specifically finding that Egi did not act in bad faith. Similarly, we deny his request for attorney fees on appeal.
Affirmed; motion to strike granted; motion for fees denied.