Hennepin County District Court File No. 27CV1021554.
Bruce A. Boeder, Bruce A. Boeder, P.A., Wayzata, Minnesota (for respondent).
Bruce W. Larson, Law Office of Bruce W. Larson, Wayzata, Minnesota (for appellant).
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Rodenberg, Judge; and Stoneburner, Judge.
Appellant attorney challenges two district court orders declaring his attorney's lien void ab initio, requiring him to disgorge proceeds from satisfaction of the lien, and awarding those funds to his client's judgment creditor. Because the district court had jurisdiction over the challenge, the judgment creditor had standing to challenge the validity of the attorney's lien, and, after the attorney's lien was declared void, the judgment creditor's interest in the subject funds had priority over the attorney's interest, we affirm. We also grant respondent's motion to strike section VIII of appellant's reply brief.
Appellant Todd R. Haugan, an attorney, conditioned his representation of a client on receiving an attorney's lien on real property (the property) owned by the client but that was not involved in Haugan's representation of the client. Haugan filed notice of his intention to claim a lien on the property in the appropriate county. The notice erroneously stated that the property "is and was involved" in the action for which Haugan provided legal services.
On November 21, 2011, an entry of judgment was ordered against Haugan's client in the amount of $490, 938.70, with interest, in favor of respondent Bridgewater Bank (judgment creditor). A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Settlement Statement dated November 22, 2011, reflects that, on that date, Haugan's client sold the property and $50, 000 from the sale was distributed to Haugan's law firm from the closing entity to satisfy what the statement describes as a "mortgage loan."
On December 21, 2011, judgment was entered against Haugan's client. On December 23, 2011, the judgment creditor obtained a writ of execution. After discovering that Haugan had been paid $50, 000 from the sale of the property under an invalid attorney's lien, the judgment creditor moved the district court for an order requiring Haugan to disgorge the amount he received pursuant to the attorney's lien. After a hearing on the motion, the district court declared Haugan's attorney's lien void ab initio and ordered Haugan to disgorge the funds received and deposit those funds with the district court.
In a subsequent proceeding, the district court determined that the judgment creditor's claim to the funds had priority over Haugan's claim and awarded the funds to the judgment creditor. The district court denied Haugan's request for reconsideration, and this appeal followed.
I. Standard of review