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Wiel v. Wahlgren

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

September 3, 2019

In re the Marriage of: Russell Vander WIEL, Respondent,
v.
Sharna Ann WAHLGREN, Appellant.

          Syllabus

         When an adverse party requests the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a party who is not an infant and has never been adjudicated as incompetent, rule 17.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure entitles the party to notice and an opportunity for a hearing before a guardian ad litem is appointed.

          Ramsey County District Court, File No. 62-FA-17-2657

         Linda S. S. de Beer, Jenna K. Monson, de Beer & Associates, P.A., Lake Elmo, Minnesota (for respondent)

         Kay Nord Hunt, Michelle K. Kuhl, Lommen Abdo, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Evon M. Spangler, Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP, St. Paul, Minnesota (for appellant)

         Janet Goehle, Roseville, Minnesota (guardian ad litem)

         Considered and decided by Smith, Tracy M., Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Jesson, Judge.

          OPINION

         JESSON, Judge

         After appellant Sharna Ann Wahlgren requested multiple extensions of discovery deadlines during the marital-dissolution

Page 126

proceeding, the district court appointed a guardian ad litem for Wahlgren. Because the district court did not provide Wahlgren with notice and an opportunity for a hearing before appointing a guardian ad litem, as required by rule 17.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, we reverse.

          FACTS

          Appellant Sharna Ann Wahlgren (wife) married respondent Russell Vander Wiel (husband) on July 5, 1996. After 21 years of marriage, the parties separated in October 2017. That same month, husband filed for divorce. The parties do not have any children, and the primary issue in their dissolution proceeding is the distribution of financial assets.

          In May 2018, the parties attempted mediation but reached no agreement. As the case headed toward trial, wife requested several continuances and extensions of discovery deadlines from the district court, including one on June 27, 2018. The next day, while attending husband’s scheduled deposition, wife experienced a medical emergency rendering her unresponsive. Wife was transported by ...


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