Minnesota State Bar Ass'n v. Divorce Ed. Associates

Decision Date28 June 1974
Docket NumberNo. 45086,45086
Citation300 Minn. 323,219 N.W.2d 920
PartiesMINNESOTA STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, Respondent, v. DIVORCE EDUCATION ASSOCIATES, et al., Defendants, Charles Thibodeau and Donna Thibodeau, et al., Petitioners.
CourtMinnesota Supreme Court

Charles Thibodeau and Donna Thibodeau, pro se.

Collins & Buckley and Morley Friedman, St. Paul, for respondent.

Considered and decided by the court without oral argument.


Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus directing (1) that a district court order restraining petitioners and others from destroying books and documents pending the outcome of a civil action brought against them be set aside; (2) that one of the petitioners be permitted to file an affidavit of prejudice against the district judge who had made the order; and (3) that the chief justice of the supreme court, pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure, appoint a district judge to hear the civil action currently pending against petitioners. The petition for writ of mandamus is in all respects denied.

Petitioners, Charles and Donna Thibodeau, are defendants, along with Divorce Education Associates and others who are currently unknown to the plaintiff, in a civil action brought by the Minnesota State Bar Association to enjoin defendants from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

On April 3, 1974, a hearing was held before Judge Irving C. Iverson, Fourth Judicial District, Hennepin County, on an order to show cause why the court should not make permanent its previous order restraining defendants from destroying their books and records. At the hearing, defendants moved that Judge Iverson disqualify himself and all judges of the district who are members of the Minnesota State Bar Association and, if necessary, notify the chief justice of the supreme court pursuant to Rule 63.02, Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Iverson denied this motion, but after he was informed that one of the unknown defendants had once appeared before him he stated that he would disqualify himself from the trial on the action on the merits. Thereupon, petitioner Donna Thibodeau attempted to file an affidavit of prejudice against Judge Iverson. The judge, however, refused to accept her affidavit, on the ground that it was untimely. At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Iverson made the following order:

'The court, having heard the arguments of the parties and based upon all the files, records and proceedings herein, hereby makes the following order: The above-named defendants are hereby restrained from destroying, altering, transferring or making any other changes in their books, business records, financial records or any other documents possessed by them or in their control which relate to their activities, pending the outcome and determination of the above-captioned litigation.'

The threshold issue in this case is whether the order of April 3, 1974, should be set aside because the judge had previously stated on the record that he would disqualify himself from hearing the case on its merits. Petitioners assert that the judge was powerless to make this order once he announced that he would disqualify himself. In support of their assertion, they cite many of our past decisions in which we have discussed the importance of an independent and unbiased judiciary. See, e.g., Payne v. Lee, 222 Minn. 269, 24 N.W.2d 259 (1946); Wiedemann v. Wiedemann, 228 Minn. 174, 36 N.W.2d 810 (1949); Jones v. Jones, 242 Minn. 251, 64 N.W.2d 508 (1954). We have carefully examined the record in this case and have concluded that Judge Iverson's conduct was in accord with the principles set...

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7 cases
  • Republican Party of Minnesota v. White
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • 2 Agosto 2005
    ...or "D," or "DFL" (denoting Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) after his or her name. See Minn. State Bar Ass'n v. Divorce Educ. Assocs., 300 Minn. 323, 219 N.W.2d 920, 922 (1974) (holding that in civil action brought by state bar association seeking injunction against individuals fo......
  • Dacey v. Connecticut Bar Ass'n
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • 6 Abril 1976
    ...or integrated bar is not a basis for disqualification in a case in which a bar association is a party. Minnesota State Bar Assn. v. Divorce Education Associates, Minn., 219 N.W.2d 920, cert. denied sub nom., Thibodeau v. Minnesota State Bar Assn., 419 U.S. 1023, 95 S.Ct. 500, 42 L.Ed.2d 297......
  • OCC, LLC v. Cnty. of Hennepin (In re OCC, LLC), A18-0526
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • 29 Agosto 2018
    ...v. Burrell , 743 N.W.2d 596, 601 (Minn. 2008) (quoting McClelland , 376 N.W.2d at 219 ); see also Minn. State Bar Ass’n v. Divorce Educ. Assocs. , 300 Minn. 323, 219 N.W.2d 920, 920 (1974) (stating that a writ of mandamus was sought to allow an affidavit of prejudice to be filed). Although ......
  • Burns v. Ungerman, No. A04-290 (MN 3/1/2005), A04-290.
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • 1 Marzo 2005
    ...make orders that are "purely formal in character" or that are pursuant to "ministerial duties." Minn. State Bar Ass'n v. Divorce Educ. Assocs., 300 Minn. 323, 325, 219 N.W.2d 920, 921 (1974) (quotation omitted). A removed judge also may take action against a nuisance litigant who "disrupt[s......
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