This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. ß 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Pamela M. Cecchini,
Filed October 26, 1999
Hennepin County District Court
Pamela M. Cecchini, 2951 West 132 Street, #8, St. Paul, MN 55068 (attorney pro se)
Liya Borukhova, 2515 South Ninth Street, # 203, Minneapolis, MN 55406 (pro se)
Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant challenges the district courtís denial of her motion for reconsideration and the denial of her application to proceed in forma pauperis. We affirm.
This action arose in conciliation court and was removed by Pamela Cecchini to district court for trial pursuant to Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 521. The district court ruled in her favor requiring Borukhova to pay $4,807.52 in unpaid fees and costs. After trial, Borukhovaís attorney, Brad C. Eggen, made a request to withdraw from representation of his client; that motion was granted and amended findings were made. Subsequently, Borukhova, acting pro se, made a motion for reconsideration and submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The district court denied her motion for reconsideration and application to proceed in forma pauperis finding that the action was frivolous, lacked any solid legal or factual argument, and did not raise any new or additional issues.
D E C I S I O N
This courtís review of a district court judgment is limited to a determination of whether the courtís findings are clearly erroneous, either without substantial evidentiary support or based on an erroneous conclusion of law. Reserve Mining Co. v. State, 310 N.W.2d 487, 490 (Minn.1981). This court will not set aside a district courtís findings of fact unless clearly erroneous, and due regard shall be given to the opportunity of the district court to judge the credibility of witnesses. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01; Runia v. Marguth Agency, Inc., 437 N.W.2d 45, 48 (Minn. 1989). Further, we will only reverse a district courtís findings of fact if, upon review of the entire evidence, we have a "definite and firm conviction" that a mistake has been made. Gjovik v. Strope, 401 N.W.2d 664, 667 (Minn. 1987).
Appellant Borukhova brought a motion for reconsideration arguing that a legal services contract between herself and Cecchini was invalid and that she should not be required to pay any of the bill. To support this assertion, Borukhova argues that because her English is poor, she committed excusable neglect in failing to bring additional evidence, and that the contract is invalid because Cecchini failed to substantially perform her part of the contract.
The district court determined that the contract for legal services between Borukhova and Cecchini was valid and enforceable. The district court made specific findings that Cecchini contacted Khaimov, Borukhovaís brother, in an attempt to represent him, and that he called her on several occasions. We agree with the district courtís finding that Cecchini performed her part of the contract. The district court also made findings: (1) that Borukhova heard and understood the legal services agreement in its entirety and that it was translated line by line into Russian; (2) that Borukhovaís arguments were not credible, but were brought for malicious harassment of Cecchini; and (3) that Borukhova proceeded to bring the case in bad faith and made material misrepresentations to her attorney.
The specific issues Borukhova raises on appeal simply restate her trial court arguments, which were explicitly contradicted by the findings of the district court. The district court addressed this issue in its final order stating that Borukhova merely rehashed the evidence presented at trial and that nothing new had been presented. See Sullivan v. Spot Welding, Inc., 560 N.W.2d 712, 715-16 (Minn. App. 1997) (discussing that the rules of civil procedure do not authorize motions for reconsideration, and striking an affidavit where appellant simply attempted to reargue the issues that were decided by summary judgment). A review of the district court transcript reveals no clearly erroneous conclusions. We affirm the district courtís denial of Borukhovaís motion for reconsideration.
Borukhova also made an application to proceed in forma pauperis, which is governed by statute. This statute authorizes in forma pauperis proceedings if the appellant is unable to pay the costs and fees of the appeal and "[u]pon a finding by the court that the action is not of a frivolous nature." Minn. Stat. ß 563.01, subd. 3 (1998).
A frivolous claim is without any reasonable basis in law or equity and could not be supported by a good faith argument for [a] * * * modification or reversal of existing law.
Maddox v. Department of Human Resources, 400 N.W.2d 136, 139 (Minn. App. 1987) (quotation omitted).
The district courtís order specifically stated that Borukhova only reargued the evidence brought at trial and deliberately argued false material facts in her motion papers. The district courtís finding that Borukhova misused the judicial system to harass Cecchini and brought a motion without a reasonable basis in law or equity firmly supports the denial of the application to proceed in forma pauperis. Additionally, applying existing law to the facts of this case make it apparent that Borukhova did not advance a solid argument or present any reasonable ground for modification or change in existing law. We concur with the district courtís decision to deny the application to proceed in forma pauperis because of the frivolous nature for which the motion was brought.