from the District Court of Burleigh County, South Central
Judicial District, the Honorable James S. Hill, Judge.
Rath (on brief), self-represented, defendant and appellant.
Rath, plaintiff; no appearance.
Ronning Kapsner, Justice.
1] Mark Rath appeals from a district court order denying his
motion for an order to show cause and denying his motion for
relief. We affirm.
2] Mark Rath and Kayla Rath were divorced in January 2013.
Kayla Rath was awarded primary residential responsibility of
the couple's children. Mark Rath was awarded supervised
parenting time. The divorce judgment permits Mark Rath to
call the children each Monday and every other Friday and
Sunday between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This Court has decided
various appeals in this case. See Rath v. Rath, 2016
ND 46 (affirming orders denying motion for order to show
cause, motion to modify judgment, and motion for recusal);
Rath v. Rath, 2015 ND 22, 861 N.W.2d 172 (summarily
affirming district court's denial of Mark Rath's
motion to vacate the judgment and grant relief); Rath v.
Rath, 2014 ND 171, 852 N.W.2d 377 (affirming order
denying motion to hold Kayla Rath in contempt; reversing
district court's amendment to judgment on due process and
notice grounds); Rath v. Rath, 2013 ND 243, 840
N.W.2d 656 (affirming order denying motion to hold Kayla Rath
in contempt and denial of request for district court judge to
3] In the present action, Mark Rath has filed a motion for an
order to show cause and a motion for relief from the original
divorce judgment. He argued both motions in one brief. In
support of his motions, Mark Rath asserted Kayla Rath
violated his due process and First Amendment rights by
monitoring his phone calls with the children. He also argued
Kayla Rath violated the terms of the divorce judgment by
making the children unavailable for scheduled calls, ending
calls prematurely, and refusing to allow one of the children
to accept a cell phone he sent as a gift. Last, Mark Rath
asserted the district court judge presiding over his case has
failed to remain impartial and must recuse himself.
4] The district court denied both of Mark Rath's motions
in one order. The court found Mark Rath's motions were
repetitive and without merit. The court warned: "the
most recent Motions by Mark are frivolous under the language
of N.D.R.Civ.P. Rule 11. While [the court] does not sanction
Mark at this time, Defendant Mark Rath is expressly advised
that this Court will sanction a continued clear pattern of
frivolous repetitive litigation." Mark Rath appealed.
5] We treat motions for relief the same as a motion for
reconsideration. Greywind v. State, 2015 ND 231,
¶ 11, 869 N.W.2d 746. A district court's denial of a
motion for reconsideration will not be reversed "absent
a manifest abuse of discretion." Waslaski v.
State, 2013 ND 70, ¶ 10, 830 N.W.2d 228. "A
court abuses its discretion when it acts in an arbitrary,
unreasonable, or unconscionable manner, or when it
misinterprets or misapplies the law, or when its decision is
not the product of a rational mental process leading to a
reasoned determination." Riak v. State, 2015 ND
120, ¶ 14, 863 N.W.2d 894.
6] Mark Rath argues the district court erred when it found
his motion frivolous. Although the court refrained from
levying sanctions against him, it warned that if Mark Rath
continues to file similar motions, it would sanction him in
The district court has authority to stem abuses of the
judicial process, which comes not only from applicable rules
and statutes, such as N.D.R.Civ.P. 11, but "from the
court's inherent power to control its docket and to
protect its jurisdiction and judgments, the integrity of the
court, and the orderly and expeditious administration of
justice." Federal Land Bank v. Ziebarth, 520
N.W.2d 51, 58 (N.D.1994). A district court has discretion
under N.D.C.C. § 28-26-01(2) to decide whether a claim
is frivolous and the amount and reasonableness of an award of
attorney fees, but when the court decides a claim is
frivolous, the court must award attorney fees. See Strand
v. Cass Cnty.,2008 ND 149, ¶¶ 12-13, 753
N.W.2d 872. "A claim for relief is frivolous under
N.D.C.C. § 28-26-01(2) only if there is such a complete