STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In Re the Marriage of:
Betty Jean Kellie, petitioner,
Truman Frank Kellie,
Filed July 13, 1999
Affirmed, motion denied
Washington County District Court
File No. F8911226
David K. Meier, 1937 Woodlane Drive, Suite 202, Woodbury, MN 55125 (for respondent)
Lisa M. Amundson, Brent G. Eilefson, Dudley & Smith, P.A., 2602 Firstar Center, 101 East Fifth Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Short, Judge, and Schultz, Judge.[*]
This appeal arises from the modification of a 1991 dissolution of an 18-year marriage. On appeal, Truman Frank Kellie argues the trial court erred in amending its prior judgment and granting Betty Jean Kellie's motion for child support arrears in the amount of $24,808.56. Kellie also moves to strike portions of his former spouse's brief. We affirm and deny the motion to strike.
Kellie argues the trial court improperly amended its prior judgment because the hearing for the motion for amended findings was untimely. See Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.03 (requiring notice of motion be served within 15 days of order and motion be heard 30 days after order), 52.02 (stating trial court may amend findings in response to timely motion). But the 30-day limit for a hearing date under Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.03 is not absolute, and an extension may be made for good cause. Celis v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 580 N.W.2d 64, 65 (Minn. App. 1998); see Woodrow v. Tobler, 269 N.W.2d 910, 914 (Minn. 1978) (noting that, while written order extending 30-day time limit is preferable, form for extension for cause is not specified by Rule 59.03).
The record shows: (1) on June 10, 1998, the trial court filed an order granting Kellie's motion to reduce spousal maintenance, and denying the motions of Kellie's former spouse to increase child support and find Kellie in child support arrears; (2) two days later, Kellie's former spouse served Kellie's counsel with a notice of filing of the order; (3) on June 26, 1998, Kellie's former spouse served and filed her motion for amended findings asking the court administrator to set a hearing date within the required 30-day period; (4) because the trial court judge retired on July 1, 1998, the court administrator reassigned the parties' case to another judge and, in response to the request of Kellie's former spouse for the first possible hearing date, set the motion hearing for August 7, 1998; and (5) because of conflicts with the schedule of Kellie's counsel, the parties agreed to reschedule the hearing date for September 25, 1998.
Given these facts, the trial court properly heard the motion for amended findings after the 30-day time period expired. See Woodrow, 269 N.W.2d at 914 (stating "[i]t is clear that the unavailability of the trial judge at the time of the motion constitutes `good cause' for extending the time"); Texas Commerce Bank v. Olson, 416 N.W.2d 456, 462-63 (Minn. App. 1987) (holding bank waived any objection to timeliness of hearing date because it indicated hearing date was convenient and did not object to hearing date when it was scheduled). Moreover, because the motion challenged specific findings, the trial court had jurisdiction to hear this motion. See Cox v. Selover, 165 Minn. 50, 52, 205 N.W. 691, 692 (1925) (recognizing trial court may review verdict on ground that it is not supported by evidence); Lewis v. Lewis, 572 N.W.2d 313, 315 (Minn. App. 1997) (noting trial court may amend its order to review its own exercise of discretion and identify an alleged defect in the challenged findings), review denied (Minn. Feb. 19, 1988). Under these circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in considering the motion for amended findings.
Affirmed, motion denied.
[*] Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.