may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Rosemary A. Rooney, petitioner,
Timothy J. Rooney,
Filed May 4, 1999
Wright County District Court
File No. F4882009
Timothy J. Looby, Melchert Hubert Sjodin, PLLP, 121 West Main, Suite 200, Waconia, MN 55387 (for respondent)
Wynn Curtiss, Vesely, Miller & Steiner, P.A., 400 Norwest Bank Building, 1011 First Street South, Hopkins, MN 55343 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Huspeni, Judge.[*]
Appellant Timothy Rooney challenges the administrative law judge's (ALJ) rulings: (1) allowing respondent Rosemary Rooney to provide medical insurance for the parties' children; (2) removing the requirement that respondent reimburse appellant for certain medical costs; and (3) denying appellant's motion for a new trial. We affirm.
The traditional standard of review applies on appeal of an ALJ's rulings in a family law case. Lee v. Lee, 459 N.W.2d 365, 368-69 (Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Oct. 18, 1990); see Minn. Stat. § 518.5511, subd. 4(j) (1998) (ALJ's decision "is appealable to the court of appeals in the same manner as a decision of the district court"). Under that standard, findings of fact are not set aside unless clearly erroneous and legal issues are reviewed de novo. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01 (findings of fact); Frost Benco Elec. Ass'n v. Minnesota Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 358 N.W.2d 639, 642 (Minn. 1984) (legal issues).
The statute does not define "better." Also, the terms of the parties' insurance plans were not submitted to the ALJ for comparison. Evidence submitted to the ALJ indicated respondent's plan costs $182 per month but has no deductible. Although appellant claimed without supporting evidence that his insurance has no deductible, respondent challenged that assertion.
Appellant's prior refusal to provide medical insurance for the child supports the ALJ's concern that appellant could not be trusted to insure the child. We defer to credibility determinations made by a fact-finder. See Sefkow v. Sefkow, 427 N.W.2d 203, 210 (Minn. 1988) (appellate courts defer to district court credibility determinations); County of Nicollet v. Haakenson, 497 N.W.2d 611, 615 (Minn. App. 1993) (this court defers to ALJ's credibility determination). We conclude that the ALJ properly considered the best interests of the child and that the limited record does not indicate the ALJ clearly erred in implicitly finding respondent's insurance policy "better" than appellant's.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.