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Estate of Pedro v. Scheeler

Supreme Court of North Dakota

December 18, 2014

Estate of Margaret B. Pedro, Deceased Jack Scheeler, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
Daniel Scheeler, Lawrence Scheeler, Jr., Yvonne Fladeland, Nancy Schaffer, Denan Burke, Respondents, Daniel Scheeler, Appellant

Page 776

Appeal from the District Court of Stark County, Southwest Judicial District, the Honorable Dann E. Greenwood, Judge.

Casey Kostelecky, Dickinson, N.D., for petitioner and appellee; submitted on brief.

Daniel Scheeler, Phoenix, Ariz, appellant; on brief.

Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Dale V. Sandstrom, Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by Crothers, Justice.

OPINION

Page 777

Crothers, Justice.

[¶1] Daniel Scheeler appeals from a district court order denying his motion for a supplementary inventory of the Estate of Margaret B. Pedro (" Estate" ), awarding attorney fees to the Estate's personal representative's law firm and barring him from further filings in this matter. We affirm.

I

[¶2] Margaret Pedro was domiciled in Nevada and died in 1997. In March 1999, one of Pedro's children, Jack Scheeler, filed an application in the North Dakota district court, seeking informal probate of Margaret Pedro's will and appointment as personal representative, in addition to filing Pedro's 1990 Last Will and Testament. Letters testamentary were issued on March 18, 1999, appointing Jack Scheeler as the Estate's personal representative. No subsequent inventory or closing documents have been filed.

[¶3] In August 2011, Daniel Scheeler, another child of Pedro, petitioned the district court for a hearing and for an order restraining the personal representative. Daniel Scheeler thereafter retained counsel and joined in a motion with Jack Scheeler and Denan Pedro, another of Margaret Pedro's children, seeking a declaratory judgment regarding the proper interpretation of the will. The parties stipulated to waive a hearing, and in July 2012 the court entered an order and judgment construing the will and concluding Denan Pedro inherited the entire Estate. No appeal was taken from the July 2012 judgment. Daniel Scheeler continued self-represented to file voluminous documents in the district court, including letters with attachments, a purported inventory and appraisement and purported supplementary inventory information with attachments.

[¶4] In November 2013, Daniel Scheeler moved the district court to order the Estate's personal representative to file a supplementary inventory. The personal representative responded by arguing Daniel Scheeler's motion did not comply with North Dakota court rules, was barred by res judicata and was frivolous.

[¶5] In December 2013, the district court denied Daniel Scheeler's motion, holding his filing failed to meet basic requirements for a motion under North Dakota law, was frivolous and was an attempt to relitigate an issue previously decided. The court also awarded attorney fees for the personal representative having to defend the frivolous ...


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