In re the Marriage of: Marcia M. Martinez, petitioner, Respondent, vs. Michael L. Martinez, Appellant.Annotate this Case
This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480 A. 08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALSA06-1715
In re the Marriage of:
Marcia M. Martinez, petitioner,
Michael L. Martinez,
Filed September 25, 207
Affirmed in part, remanded in partRoss, Judge
Washington County District Court
File No. F5-04-05431
John B. Bellows, Jr., 386 Wabasha Street North, Suite 1400, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)
Michael L. Martinez, 737 Spring Hill Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Ross, Presiding Judge; Peterson, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
In this appeal from an order addressing multiple motions following entry of a marital-dissolution judgment, Michael Martinez argues that the district court erred by denying, deferring, or failing to rule on his motions. He also challenges the imposition of attorney fees and a condition requiring him to pay the fees before the district court will accept future motions from him. Because the district court did not rule on Martinez's motions directed to the county and imposed too broad of a condition limiting future motions, we remand on those issues. But because Martinez failed to adequately brief his asserted errors, we deem the other matters waived and affirm the district court.
In March 2006 the district court dissolved Michael Martinez's marriage. Martinez received joint legal custody of his minor children, but no physical custody. The court ordered him to pay monthly child support and maintenance. Only one of the Martinezes' children was an unemancipated minor at the time of the events relevant on appeal.
Soon after the district court entered its judgment, Martinez filed a series of motions. In March 2006 he moved for joint physical custody, removal of the district court judge, and a new trial. He also asserted violations of his right to parenting time. In April he asserted that the March 2006 judgment was unconstitutional. He moved the court to order his ex-wife to take their son to counseling and give him certain property, to order Washington County to repay him funds he contributed to the custody evaluation, and to order the county to allow him access to its files. In May the district court denied the motions, finding that he failed to support them on any legal basis. The court noted, however, that he could refile his motions related to the county if he properly served the county. About two weeks later, Martinez moved the court to order sole or joint physical custody of their son, to require his ex-wife to sign a travel-authorization form permitting their son to travel out of the country with him in 2007, to require her to return certain property, to require the county to allow him access to the county court services' materials, to order a copy of court services' custody file, to deny income withholding, and, presumably only after granting those requests, to recuse from the case. In June Martinez submitted a proposed order to show cause to the court, seeking a contempt finding. In July the district court denied the motions to modify custody, to require counseling, to return property, and to remove the judge. The court ordered income withholding after finding that Martinez had not fulfilled his child-support and maintenance obligations for April, May, and June. The court deferred deciding the travel-authorization motion and ordered Martinez to pay attorney fees. The court conditioned acceptance of future motions from Martinez on his payment of the fees.
Martinez appeals from the July 2006 order, arguing that the district court erroneously denied, deferred, or failed to decide his motions. He also challenges the imposition of attorney fees and the prohibition of future motions until he pays.
D E C I S I O N
Michael Martinezraises 11 issues in his appellate brief to this court, but he fails to present any factual or legal argument to support his assertions of error. He does not cite a single statute, rule, or case. He simply states that he filed motions and that the 457-page appendix to his brief supports his claims. We will not review an issue in the absence of adequate briefing. State Dep't of Labor & Indus. v. Wintz Parcel Drivers, Inc., 558 N.W.2d 480, 480 (Minn. 1997). As Minnesota appellate courts have long recognized, "[a]n assignment of error based on mere assertion and not supported by any argument or authorities in appellant's brief is waived and will not be considered on appeal unless prejudicial error is obvious on mere inspection." Schoepke v. Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Co., 290 Minn. 518, 519-20, 187 N.W.2d 133, 135 (1971). Generally, no prejudicial error is obvious here. We therefore deem the majority of Martinez's issues waived and affirm the district court. But we briefly address two concerns that are obvious from our review of the record: the failure of the district court to address Martinez's motions related to the county and the condition limiting future motions.
The district court did not rule on Martinez's motions demanding access to the county's files. At the motion hearing, the court questioned whether Martinez had served his motions on the county. Martinez correctly stated that he had filed two affidavits of service. But in an apparent oversight while deciding Martinez's many other motions, the district court did not address these motions in its order. We remand for the district court to consider them.
We next address the district court's requirement that Mr. Martinez pay Ms. Martinez's attorney fees before filing future motions. We review this type of condition for an abuse of discretion. See In re Burns, 542 N.W.2d 389, 390(Minn. 1996) (reviewing district court order restricting party's communications with court for abuse of discretion). Although the condition is essentially fitting in light of the multiple baseless motions Martinez filed in the three months following the court's judgment, we find that the condition is too broad because it precludes potentially legitimate motions bearing on the welfare of the Martinezes' minor child or otherwise relating to dissolution. Conditions restricting communication with the court may be acceptable, but they must provide some opportunity for necessary and appropriate motions. See id. (upholding order restricting communications with court when court provided litigant opportunity to show cause why restriction should not be enforced). We therefore remand to the district court to modify the condition accordingly.
Affirmed in part, remanded in part.