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

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 mdouglas@injurylawtwincities.com

 

UNPUBLISHED CIVIL OPINIONS FROM THE MINNESOTA COURT OF APPEALS

A07-1070

Betty L. Ellison-Harpole,
Appellant,

vs.

Special School District No. 1
a/k/a Minneapolis Public School District,
Respondent,

Brenda Ring,
Respondent.

HARTEN, Judge
Appellant Betty Ellison-Harpole, a/k/a Betty Tucker, a public
school teacher, challenges the summary judgment granted to respondent
Special School District No. 1 dismissing appellant's whistleblower and
breach of contract claims as unsupported by the evidence and her claims
of negligence, negligence per se, assault, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and
respondeat superior under the doctrine of vicarious official immunity.
We conclude that: (1) appellant's conduct did not constitute a report
within the meaning of the Whistleblower Act and evidence does not
support the existence of a nexus between her alleged whistleblowing and
the district's alleged retaliation; (2) the district court correctly
found that no relevant contract existed between the parties; and (3) the
school district was entitled to vicarious official immunity.
Accordingly, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-1044

William N. Ruth,
Relator,

vs.

Kristico Inc.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

HARTEN, Judge
Relator challenges the decision by the unemployment law judge (ULJ) that
he was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because he quit
without good reason caused by the employer. He argues that he had good
reason to quit because his employer (1) provided inadequate compensation
and fraudulently misrepresented its earnings in order to limit his pay;
(2) breached its leave agreement with him; and (3) failed to provide
workers' compensation coverage. He also argues that the Minnesota
Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) improperly
denied his request for a subpoena. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0917

Dean L. Hovey, et al.,
Appellant,

vs.

Terrance M. Rooney, et al.,
Respondents.

STONEBURNER, Judge
Appellants challenge summary judgment dismissing their
breach-of-contract action and claim for an easement by implication or
prescription on respondents' lakeshore property. Appellants also
challenge denial of their motion to amend their complaint to add a claim
of promissory estoppel. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0878

Neal Neff,
Appellant,

vs.

Americana Community Bank,
defendant and third party plaintiff,
Respondent,

vs.

Nathan Neff,
Third Party Defendant.

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellant Neal Neff challenges the district court's grant of summary
judgment to respondent Americana Community Bank on appellant's claim for
conversion. We reverse and remand.
= = = =
A07-0814

Dexter Branwall,
Respondent,

Eline Branwall,
Respondent,

vs.

Faye A. Hilgart,
Defendant,

Craig S. Hunter,
Appellant,

Thomas W. Reed,
Appellant.

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Appellants Craig S. Hunter and Thomas W. Reed applied to the
district court for attorney liens and an award of attorney fees in the
amount of 3,000, based on contingent-fee agreements signed by
respondent Dexter Branwall and his mother in which they agreed to pay
20% of the agreed-upon value of the property recovered. The district
court found the contingent-fee agreements unreasonable and instead
calculated the fee on an hourly basis, determining that the reasonable
value of attorney fees for both attorneys was ,000, which Branwall's
mother had already paid. It denied the application for the attorney
liens. Because contingent-fee agreements are valid unless procured by
fraud, of which there is no evidence; because, although Branwall has
cognitive disabilities, he has never been adjudicated incapacitated or
deemed incompetent; and because Branwall's mother, who was his
attorney-in-fact, also signed the agreements, we reverse and remand for
an award of attorney fees pursuant to the contingent-fee agreements and
for the imposition of attorney liens. The motion of Hunter and Reed to
supplement the record is denied.
= = = =
A07-0745

In the Matter of the Arbitration Between:

Independent School District #182,
Crosby-Ironton, Minnesota,
Appellant,

vs.

Education Minnesota Crosby Ironton,
AFL-CIO, Local 1325,
Respondent.

JOHNSON, Judge
In early 2005, teachers at Crosby-Ironton High School engaged in
a strike. When the strike ended, the school district and the teachers'
union agreed that "no reprisal, punishment, or action will be taken
against a teacher because of a teacher's lawful participation in a
teacher's strike." Maureen Morrow participated in the strike. Two
months later, she applied to be a Spanish teacher at the high school.
She was not hired. An arbitrator found that the school district's
decision not to hire Morrow was a breach of the non-reprisal agreement.
The school district then commenced an action in district court
to vacate the arbitrator's award. The district court denied relief. On
appeal, the school district argues that the propriety of its decision
not to hire Morrow is not arbitrable. The school district argues in the
alternative that, if the matter is arbitrable, the arbitration award is
beyond the scope of the arbitrator's authority. We conclude that the
parties' dispute is a proper subject of arbitration and that the
arbitration award is not beyond the scope of the arbitrator's authority
and, therefore, affirm.
= = = =
A07-0713

Scott Ronald Kish, petitioner,
Appellant,

vs.

Commissioner of Public Safety,
Respondent.

STONEBURNER, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's decision affirming
revocation of his driving privileges. Appellant argues that the
district court erred by (1) holding that his due process rights were not
violated by the district court's policy of scheduling implied-consent
hearings after resolution of related criminal matters and (2) concluding
that the defense of temporary insanity by reason of involuntary
intoxication is not available in an implied-consent proceeding. By
notice of review, respondent challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
to support the district court's finding that appellant proved
involuntary intoxication. Because we affirm the district court's
holdings that appellant's due process rights were not violated by
scheduling practices and that the affirmative defense of temporary
insanity by reason of involuntary intoxication is not available in an
implied-consent proceeding, we do not reach the issue of the sufficiency
of the evidence to support the district court's finding that Kish was
involuntarily intoxicated.
= = = =
A07-0675

Collins Electrical Systems, Inc., d/b/a Collisys,
Appellant,

vs.

Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc.,
Respondent,

City of Minneapolis,
Respondent.

SCHELLHAS, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's dismissal of its claims for
(1) recovery under Minn. Stat. ? 574.29 (2006) against respondent City
of Minneapolis; (2) unjust enrichment against respondent Redflex
Systems, Inc.; and (3) foreclosure of mechanic's liens against both
respondents. Because we conclude that the district court erred in
dismissing appellant's claim under Minn. Stat. ? 574.29 and its
unjust-enrichment claim, but did not err in dismissing appellant's
attempts to foreclose on its mechanic's liens, we affirm in part,
reverse in part, and remand.
= = = =
A07-0646

Patrick Vizenor,
Appellant,

vs.

Todd Hoffman, et al.,
Respondents.

CONNOLLY, Judge
This is an appeal from summary judgment granted in a judicial
forfeiture proceeding. Appellant argues that the district court erred
by not allowing him to amend his complaint before respondents filed a
responsive pleading. He further contends that the district court erred
in concluding that the doctrine of res judicata barred his claim based
on a settlement agreement in a prior forfeiture action. Finally, he
asserts that he never received notice of the forfeiture and therefore
cannot be deemed to have waived his right to contest. Because this suit
was barred by res judicata, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-0630

Gerry Fisher,
Appellant,

v.

Larry Jeddeloh, et al.,
Respondents,

Thomas Lehn,
Respondent,

Paul Larson,
Respondent,

Alebra Technologies, Inc.,
Respondent.

PORITSKY, Judge
Gerry Fisher was removed as Alebra Technologies, Inc.'s CEO
shortly after a contested shareholders' vote elected a new board of
directors. His suit challenging aspects of this vote was dismissed by
the district court for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0628

Steve Camp a/k/a Stephen Camp,
Appellant,

vs.

Dax M. Dickson,
Defendant,

Precision Closers, Inc., et al.,
Respondents.

HARTEN, Judge
Appellant Steve Camp, the seller of a parcel of real property,
challenges the judgment dismissing his claims against respondents
Precision Closers, Inc. (PC) and Martha Williams, a real estate closing
agent and P.C.'s principal. Because respondents were not Camp's agents,
neither of them had or breached a duty of disclosure to Camp, and
because neither is liable for income taxes incurred by Camp, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-0610

Riaz Shad,
Relator,

vs.

Metropolitan Council Housing
and Redevelopment Authority,
Respondent.

CRIPPEN, Judge
Respondent Metropolitan Council Housing and Redevelopment Authority
terminated relator Riaz Shad's Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments
contracts and notified him of its intent to collect overpayments made on
behalf of a tenant who committed fraud. On review, relator contends
that the lack of a hearing deprived him of his right to due process of
law. Relator also contends that the decision was not based on
substantial evidence and was arbitrary and capricious. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0604

HongShi Li, et al.,
Appellants,

vs.

Steven J. Zawadski d/b/a
W. F. Bauer Homes, et al.,
defendants and third party plaintiffs,
Respondents,

vs.

Jody Kainz d/b/a Kainz Construction,
third party defendant,
Respondent,

Lincoln Wood Products,
third party defendant,
Respondent,

Harley Rohlf d/b/a Butch Rohlf Stucco,
third party defendant,
Respondent,

Westurn Cedar and Supply Company d/b/a
Westurn Roofing and d/b/a Westurn Roofing
and Siding and Westurn Cedar Supply, Inc.,
third party defendant,
Respondent,

Hart Masonry, Inc.,
third party defendant,
Respondent.


HALBROOKS, Judge
Appellants HongShi Li and Danli Wang challenge the district
court's grant of summary judgment to respondents Steven J. Zawadski,
d/b/a W.F. Bauer Homes; W.F.B., Inc. d/b/a W.F. Bauer Homes, Inc. also
d/b/a W.F. Bauer Homes; and Zawadski Homes, Inc. (Bauer). Appellants
argue that the district court erred in its application of the statute of
limitations on their statutory new-home warranty claims and that
material fact issues exist that preclude summary judgment on their
claims of negligence and breach of contract. Because we agree that the
district court erred in its application of the statute of limitations
and because genuine issues of material fact exist that preclude summary
judgment, we reverse and remand.
= = = =
A07-556

Jack Raymond Sandford, et al.,
Respondents,

vs.

City of Hopkins,
Appellant.

JOHNSON, Judge
Jack Raymond Sandford injured his ankle while skating on an
indoor ice rink owned and operated by the City of Hopkins. After he
sued to recover damages, the city moved for summary judgment based on
recreational-use immunity. The district court denied the motion. In
this interlocutory appeal, the city argues that there are no genuine
disputes of material fact on Sandford's elements of proof in light of
the city's assertion of recreational-use immunity. We conclude that, as
a matter of law, the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate that the
condition of the ice rink was likely to cause death or serious bodily
harm or that the city had knowledge of such a condition. Thus, we
reverse the district court's denial of the city's motion for summary
judgment.

= = = =
A07-0525

Ishmael B. McReynolds,
Relator,

vs.

Century Tile Inc.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

LANSING, Judge
Ishmael McReynolds appeals, by writ of certiorari, an unemployment law
judge's determination that he was discharged for employment misconduct
and is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.
Because substantial evidence supports the determination that McReynolds
was discharged for failure to abide by his employer's reasonable
directives on use of the company vehicle and limitation of personal
errands during work hours, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-0515
A07-1252

Jerald Alan Hammann,
Appellant,

vs.

Falls/Pinnacle, LLC,
a Delaware limited liability company, et al.,
Respondents.

PETERSON, Judge
In these consolidated appeals, appellant challenges summary
judgment in favor of respondents on appellant's claims seeking sales
commissions and other damages in connection with the sales of
condominium units and the award of attorney fees, costs, and sanctions
to respondents. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-392

Blia Moua, as Trustee for the Heirs
and Next of Kin of Chauncy Moua, Decedent,
and Blia Moua, individually,
Appellant,

v.

Joseph F. Hastings,
Respondent,

Gail Lee Hastings, et al.,
Respondents

HUDSON, Judge
On appeal from summary judgment in a wrongful-death action, appellant
argues that the district court erred by granting summary judgment in
favor of respondents. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0388

Jennifer Gwen Loveland,
Respondent,

vs.

Francis Joseph Brosnan,
Appellant.

CONNOLLY, Judge
Appellant challenges the district court's order denying his motion for
modification or elimination of his child-support obligation. Because
the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion,
we affirm.
= = = =
A07-375

County of Freeborn,
Appellant,

Theresa Mae Book,
Plaintiff,

vs.

Joseph Lenell Walker,
Respondent.

HUDSON, Judge
In this parentage proceeding, the district court vacated paternity and
child-support judgments against respondent Joseph Walker and ordered
appellant Freeborn County to reimburse respondent for monies that
appellant collected from respondent based on the vacated judgments and
which appellant then disbursed to the indigent mother of the child who
was the subject of the paternity proceeding. Appellant challenges the
reimbursement requirement, argues that the district court erroneously
considered certain documents submitted by respondent, and the district
court should have granted appellant's motion for amended findings of
fact. Because appellant failed to serve respondent in this proceeding,
the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over respondent, the
judgments rendered were void, and the district court properly vacated
those judgments. Also, the district court's consideration of the
documents submitted by respondent, ordering of appellant to reimburse
respondent for the monies appellant collected based on the void
judgments, and denial of appellant's motion for amended findings were
not abuses of its discretion. Therefore, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-345

Robert L. Revilla,
Relator,

vs.

Transformation House, Inc.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

JOHNSON, Judge
Robert L. Revilla was a counselor at Transformation House, Inc., a
chemical-dependency treatment center in Anoka. An unemployment law
judge (ULJ) found that Revilla quit his job without good cause and,
thus, is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for the
period of time following his quit date. Revilla argues that the ULJ
made improper credibility determinations and erroneously found that
Revilla intended to quit. We affirm.
= = = =
A07-0088

Loretta Day,
Relator,

vs.

Summit Childcare Center Inc.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

LANSING, Judge
By writ of certiorari, Loretta Day appeals an unemployment law
judge's determination that she was discharged from her employment at a
childcare center for actions that constituted employment misconduct and
is therefore disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Because
substantial evidence supports the determination that Day was discharged
for violating the childcare center's policy by twice using physical
force to correct a child's behavior, we affirm.
= = = =
A07-39

C. Keith McGruder,
Relator,

vs.

Affiliated Group Inc.,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

WILLIS, Judge
By writ of certiorari, pro se relator challenges the decision of
an unemployment-law judge (ULJ) that relator was discharged for
employment misconduct and is, therefore, disqualified from receiving
unemployment benefits. Because the ULJ's decision is supported by
substantial evidence and is not affected by an error of law, we affirm.
= = = =
A06-2377

Marc Brandt, as Trustee for the Heirs and Next of Kin
of Michelle Tschida, deceased,
Respondent,

vs.

Western Wisconsin Medical Associates, S.C.,
d/b/a River Falls Medical Clinic, et al.,
Appellants,

Michael D. McGonigal, M.D.,
Defendant.

JOHNSON, Judge
Michelle Tschida died eight days after undergoing gastric bypass
surgery. A Ramsey County jury found that Dr. Matthew C. Clayton was
negligent in the post-operative care he provided to Tschida in the first
three days following the surgery, and the jury further found that his
negligence was one of the causes of her death. Dr. Clayton brought
post-trial motions for judgment as a matter of law or, in the
alternative, for a new trial, which the district court denied. On
appeal, Dr. Clayton argues that the plaintiff's expert physician was not
qualified to give expert testimony on the applicable standard of care,
that the district court erred in admitting irrelevant evidence, and that
the district court improperly instructed the jury on the issue of
damages. We conclude that the district court did not commit error and,
therefore, affirm.
= = = =
A06-2163

Lisa A. Schmidt,
Relator,

vs.

Standard Process Equipment,
Respondent,

Department of Employment and Economic Development,
Respondent.

PETERSON, Judge
This certiorari appeal is from a decision of an unemployment law
judge (ULJ) that relator is disqualified from receiving unemployment
compensation benefits because she was discharged for employment
misconduct. We affirm.
= = = =
A06-1918

David Roger Williams, petitioner,
Appellant,

vs.

Margaret Mary Williams,
Respondent.

ROSS, Judge
This appeal requires us to assess the district court's decision to
modify child support, which it ordered at a sum greater than the
statutory presumptive amount. Appellant David Williams argues that the
district court erred by finding a change in circumstances that makes his
original child-support obligation to respondent Margaret Williams
unreasonably and unfairly low. He also contends that the district court
abused its discretion by increasing child support to a level in excess
of the guidelines amount in an attempt to equalize the parties' incomes
and their standards of living. We hold that the district court's
factual findings do not support its conclusion that a substantial change
in circumstances made the original child-support arrangement
unreasonable and unfair. But we remand to allow the parties to address
the presumption of a substantial, unfair change in circumstances because
that material issue was raised but not decided in the district court.
 

 
 
 

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