of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
S. Hadac, Michael S. Mather, HKM, P.A., Saint Paul,
Minnesota, for appellant.
Matthew P. Kostolnik, Kelly C. McGinty, Moss & Barnett,
P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.
Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 58.01 does not provide the
district court an independent grant of authority to order a
stay of entry of judgment.
Mandamus is the proper remedy to compel the district court to
vacate a stay that the court did not have the authority to
writ of mandamus issued.
Madison Equities, Inc. sued respondent Robert Crockarell for
repayment of a long-overdue promissory note. Crockarell later
initiated a separate action against Madison Equities and
other parties alleging, among other things, that Madison
Equities sued Crockarell on the note to interfere with his
business interests. The district court granted summary
judgment to Madison Equities on the note claim, but ordered a
stay of entry of judgment pending mediation in
Crockarell's later-filed action. Madison Equities
petitioned for a writ of mandamus seeking to vacate the stay,
and the court of appeals denied the petition. We granted
review. We reverse the court of appeals and issue a writ of
mandamus ordering the district court to vacate the stay.
December 2004, Crockarell borrowed $100, 000 from his father,
James Crockarell, and his stepmother, Rosemary Kortgard,
(collectively, "parents") to purchase a home. He
executed a note promising repayment with interest within 2
years. Crockarell and his parents were also involved together
in several business ventures, including in the parents'
company, Madison Equities. While Crockarell worked for
Madison Equities, he did not repay the note and his parents
did not demand repayment. After Crockarell's employment
with Madison Equities ended in 2014, however, his parents
allonged the note to Madison
Equities, which then sued Crockarell for repayment of the
note in Ramsey County District Court ("Note
the Note Litigation was pending, Crockarell initiated a
separate action in Ramsey County District Court
("Shareholder Litigation"). Crockarell alleged
multiple business-related claims against his parents, Madison
Equities, and five limited liability companies (LLCs)
co-owned by Crockarell and his parents. Crockarell claimed
that his parents initiated the Note Litigation to pressure
him to return to work for Madison Equities and to interfere
with his business interests.
April 2016, the district court had granted summary judgment
to Madison Equities in the Note Litigation, awarding it $144,
698.59 in damages, plus interest and late charges, and an
additional $34, 790.36 in costs and attorneys' fees.
Crockarell filed a motion to stay the entry of judgment in
the Note Litigation pending the resolution of the Shareholder
Litigation. He argued that payment of the Note Litigation
judgment would substantially impair his ability to pursue the
Shareholder Litigation. Crockarell reasoned that if the Note
Litigation judgment were entered, he would engage in
additional motion practice, followed by an appeal, to stay
the enforcement of the judgment and therefore resist payment
while the Shareholder Litigation was still pending. He
further argued that his debt to Madison Equities would likely
be offset by the more than $11 million in damages he claimed
in the Shareholder Litigation. Crockarell relied on Minn. R.
Civ. P. 54.02, which allows the court to defer the final
entry of judgment when a decision fails to resolve "all
the claims or the rights and liabilities of . . . all the
parties." Although he suggested that the district court
could consolidate the two actions sua sponte to ensure that
Rule 54.02 applied, Crockarell never filed a motion to
consolidate the actions.
April 25, 2016, without consolidating the Note Litigation
with the Shareholder Litigation, the district court ordered a
stay of entry of ...