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Law Offices of Michael E. Douglas
P.O. Box 251551
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125-6551
   

 Saint Paul Lawyer
 
 mdouglas@injurylawtwincities.com

 

UNPUBLISHED CIVIL OPINIONS FROM THE MINNESOTA COURT OF APPEALS

A06-2080
Minnesota Insurance Company,
Respondent,

vs.

Natural Environments Corporation,
Appellant,

Michael Sullivan, et al.,
Defendants,

and

Natural Environments Corporation,
Third Party Plaintiff,

vs.

Wenzel Engineering, Inc.,
Third Party Defendant.

MINGE, Judge
Appellant contractor challenges the district court's denial of
its motion for summary judgment. The litigation had been initiated by
homeowners for damages caused by a landslide. Respondent insured
homeowners' automobiles that were destroyed by a second landslide.
Appellant argues that because the cause of action does not include a
claim for damages to automobiles, respondent's subrogation claim for
vehicle damage should have been dismissed and that, even if such damage
was included, because the district court no longer had personal
jurisdiction over the homeowners or subject matter jurisdiction over
their claims, it could not substitute respondent insurer into this case
in their stead. Because the homeowners' claims were sufficiently broad
to include the second landslide and the automobile damage, because the
record on appeal does not preclude recovery for such damage, and because
the district court has retained jurisdiction over the parties and the
action; we affirm its denial of summary judgment, and remand for further
proceedings.
= = = =
A06-2097

New Division Development Company, LLC,
Appellant,

vs.

Lansing Family Hardware, et al.,
Respondents,

David Lansing,
Respondent

HALBROOKS, Judge
Appellant New Division Development Company (NDDC) challenges the
district court's judgment in favor of respondents Lansing Family
Hardware, DHJJ, Inc., and David Lansing. Appellant initially filed an
unlawful-detainer action, alleging that respondents breached a
commercial lease. Appellant alleged that respondents failed to pay the
required amount of rent, underpaid rent, and failed to acquire insurance
coverage as specified in the lease. After a bench trial, the district
court found that the commercial lease presented by respondents was
controlling and orally modified the lease to cap rent at ,250 per
month. The district court also found that respondents had satisfied
their obligation to acquire insurance as specified in the lease. The
district court agreed with appellant that respondents had failed to make
payments of rent but concluded this was a non-material breach.
Respondents were allowed to redeem the lease, which they did. We
affirm.
= = = =
A06-2137

Brian Lindsay,
Respondent,

v.

St. Olaf College, et al.,
Appellants,

Labconco Corporation, et al.,
Defendants.

KLAPHAKE, Judge
This appeal arises out of tort claims asserted against
appellants St. Olaf College (St. Olaf) and chemistry professor Patrick
Riley by respondent Mark Lindsay, who was severely injured while
participating in St. Olaf's summer research program. Lindsay was
performing a multiple-step procedure to clean, or "quench," a chemistry
flask when the flask exploded, spraying chemical debris toward Lindsay
and igniting his clothes. Lindsay asserted claims against St. Olaf,
Riley, and several other defendants, who all moved for summary judgment.
The district court granted summary judgment to all defendants, except
for St. Olaf and Riley. Lindsay's appeal of those judgments is
addressed in a separate appeal. See Lindsay v. Labconco Corp., No.
A07-2461 (Minn. App. Jan. 29, 2008).
St. Olaf and Riley also moved for summary judgment, arguing that
the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because Lindsay
was an employee at the time of the incident and thus had his exclusive
remedy in the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act, Minn. Stat. 176
(2006). The district court denied the motion, finding that there were
genuine issues of material fact on whether Lindsay met the statutory
definition of an employee at the time of his injuries. We affirm.
= = = =
A06-2172

Amina, Inc., d/b/a 4-You Foods,
Relator,

vs.

City of Minneapolis,
Respondent

HUSPENI, Judge
On writ of certiorari from revocation of its business licenses by
respondent City of Minneapolis, relator Amina, Inc. argues that the
decision must either be remanded for further proceedings or reversed by
this court because it was based on unlawful procedure, on illegal
grounds or other error of law, and was unsupported by substantial
evidence. Because respondent's decision to revoke relator's licenses
followed appropriate procedure, was supported by substantial evidence,
and not based on illegal grounds or other error or law, we affirm.
= = = =
A06-2408

Norwest Bank Minnesota North, N. A.,
n/k/a Wells Fargo Bank, N. A.,
Respondent,

vs.

Reed Beckler,
Appellant

KALITOWSKI, Judge
Appellant Reed Beckler challenges a money judgment entered against him
in Scott County, pursuant to a Hennepin County determination that the
amount respondent bank owed appellant as corporate trustee from a
bequest was to be offset against the amount that appellant owed the
trust on a promissory note. Appellant argues that (1) his due process
rights were violated because there was no determination that respondent
was entitled to enforce the lost note; and (2) the district court lacked
jurisdiction to rule on this matter and the doctrines of law of the
case, res judicata, and collateral estoppel precluded the district
court's action. We affirm.
= = = =
A06-2409

Jim Kollross,
Appellant,

vs.

Park Avenue of Wayzata,
Respondent.

WRIGHT, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his motion for a new
trial, arguing that the district court erred by declining to permit him
to reopen his case-in-chief for additional testimony after resting. We
affirm.
= = = =
A06-2444

Cyril Miller,
Appellant,

vs.

Le Sueur County, et al.,
Respondents,

and

Kocina Rutt Properties, Inc., Intervenor,
Respondent.

STONEBURNER, Judge
The district court concluded that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction
over appellant's challenge to respondent county's approval of a plat and
grant of a conditional use permit and that appellant's only remedy was
by writ of certiorari to this court. On appeal, appellant argues that
the district court erred because he is not challenging a quasi-judicial
action. We affirm.
= = = =
A06-2447

James Erickson,
Appellant,

vs.

Adolfson and Peterson, Inc.,
Respondent,

Wenzel Plumbing and Heating, Inc.,
Respondent,

General Sheet Metal, LLC,
Respondent,

AAF McQuay, Inc.
d/b/a McQuay International,
Respondent,

and

General Sheet Metal, LLC,
Defendant and Third Party Plaintiff,

vs.

K.W. Insul, Inc., d/b/a K.W. Insulation,
third party defendant,
Respondent.

WORKE, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's grant of summary
judgment on his claims arising from an injury he sustained after falling
through an opening in an air-handling unit (AHU). Appellant argues that
the district court erred by ruling that (1) his claim against
subcontractors was barred by the two-year statute of limitations for
actions involving improvements to real property and his claim against
one subcontractor was also barred by the workers'-compensation law; (2)
the general contractor had no duty of care because it did not retain the
right to control or supervise the work of its subcontractor, appellant's
employer; and (3) the AHU manufacturer had no duty to warn of an open
and obvious duct opening. We affirm.
= = = =
A06-2461

Brian Lindsay,
Appellant,

vs.

St. Olaf College, et al.,
Defendants,

Labconco Corporation,
Respondents.

KLAPHAKE, Judge
On July 11, 2002, appellant Brian Lindsay, an accomplished
undergraduate student majoring in chemistry at St. Olaf College (St.
Olaf), was severely burned while participating in a summer research
program that required him to work in a laboratory under the direction of
Patrick Riley, a chemistry professor. While he was attempting to quench
a 2-liter, 3-neck flask that contained an unknown chemical compound, the
flask exploded, and chemical debris sprayed out toward Lindsay, igniting
his clothes.
At the time of the explosion, the flask was located under a fume
hood manufactured by respondent Labconco Corporation (Labconco) and
distributed by respondent Wright Line, LLC (Wright Line). Respondent
Himec, Inc. (Himec), a mechanical engineering company that specializes
in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, allegedly assisted in the
installation and ventilation of the fume hood. Respondent EOG
Environmental, Inc. (EOG) contracted with St. Olaf to provide annual
removal of hazardous waste from the St. Olaf campus.
Lindsay initiated a negligence and product liability action
against St. Olaf, Riley, Labconco, Wright Line, Himec, and EOG. All
defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court denied the
motions as to St. Olaf and Professor Riley, and that decision is the
subject of a separate appeal before this court in Lindsay v. St. Olaf
College, No. A06-2137 (Minn. App. Jan. 29, 2008). The district court
granted summary judgment to the remaining four defendants, concluding
that appellant failed to establish genuine issues of material fact for
trial and respondents were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Because we conclude that the district court properly granted summary
judgment to respondents, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-0339

In re the Marriage of: Michael A. Spencer, petitioner,
Appellant,

vs.

Kathleen J. Larson,
Respondent.

MINGE, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's denial of his motion to
eliminate or reduce his spousal maintenance obligation to respondent,
arguing that the district court improperly (a) refused to consider
respondent's improved economic condition resulting from her cohabitation
arrangement; (b) refused to find respondent's 1997 living expenses,
thereby precluding a comparison with her current living expenses; (c)
disregarded the opinion of a financial consultant that respondent's
claimed present financial situation was not credible; and (d) declined
to sanction respondent for failing to comply with discovery requests.
Because the district court did not consider whether respondent derived
an economic benefit from her cohabitation, we reverse and remand the
maintenance issue. We affirm, however, the district court's refusal to
reconstruct respondent's 1997 living expenses and its denial of
sanctions, and note that the consultant's opinion can be considered on
remand.
= = = =
A07-0674

Tony C. Smith,
Relator,

vs.

Volt Management Corp.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

WRIGHT, Judge
Relator challenges the dismissal as untimely of his appeal from
a determination that he is disqualified from receiving unemployment
benefits. Relator argues that unforeseen circumstances prevented him
from filing an appeal within the statutory time limit. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0694

In re: Appeal from an Order Establishing
Town Road dated April 5, 2004,
and Award of Damages made July 19, 2004,
by Goodland Township
Catherine Carr,
Appellant.

KLAPHAKE, Judge
Appellant Catherine Carr challenges the district court's summary
judgment in favor of respondent Goodland Township, arguing that the
court erred by concluding that there was a sufficient public purpose for
the town road and that the town board of supervisors did not act in an
arbitrary and capricious manner.
Because we are constrained by the deferential standard for
review of a municipal body's legislative actions and because we conclude
that respondent posited at least a minimal public purpose that was not
clearly contrary to the public's best interests, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-1162

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of:
F. M. P. (f/k/a R., nee J.), Parent.

KALITOWSKI, Judge
Appellant F.M.P. challenges the termination of her parental
rights to J.E.R., N.D.R., and S.E.R., arguing that (1) the record lacks
clear and convincing evidence that a statutory basis exists for the
termination and the proceedings were fundamentally unfair; and (2) there
is not clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the
children's best interests. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-1413

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of:
Craig Allen Bolte.

DIETZEN, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court judgment indeterminately
committing him as a sexually dangerous person, arguing that the district
court's findings and conclusions are clearly erroneous. Because the
district court properly applied the law and its findings are supported
by clear and convincing evidence, we affirm.
 

 
 
 

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