Dale Matthew Leuthard, by his guardian, Shirley Ann Leuthard, Appellant, vs. City of Morris, Respondent, Stevens County, Defendant.Annotate this Case
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Jerry Mathison Construction, Inc.,
Craig Binsfield, et al.,
Filed August 3, 1999
Reversed and Remanded
St. Louis County District Court
File No. C995601310
Robin C. Merritt, Hanft, Fride, O'Brien, Harries, Swelbar & Bruns, P.A., 1000 U.S. Bank Place, 130 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802-2094 (for respondent)
James O. Redman, Charles E. Lundberg, Bassford, Lockhart, Truesdell & Briggs, P.A., 3550 Multifoods Tower, 33 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellants)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Parker, Judge.[*]
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Following a jury trial on liability, Craig Binsfield and Binsfield & Associates, Inc. (Binsfields) filed a motion to dismiss, claiming respondent Jerry Mathison Construction, Inc. failed to prove damages. The district court disagreed and ordered Binsfields to pay damages in the amount of a Wisconsin judgment against Mathison. Because the district court did not make adequate findings to support its determination, we reverse and remand.
D E C I S I O N
A trial court's findings of fact will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. Binsfields argue that the district court erred in finding that Mathison suffered damages because there is no evidence that Mathison suffered any monetary or intangible loss. To maintain a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show: (1) a duty; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a causal connection between the breach of duty and the injury; and (4) an injury or damages. Schweich v. Ziegler, Inc., 463 N.W.2d 722, 729 (Minn. 1990). Prior to trial, the court deferred a decision on damages and allowed a trial to proceed on the issues of liability and contributory negligence. In response to Mathison's posttrial motion to dismiss for lack of damages, the district court found: (1) that despite its inactive corporate status, Mathison could still sue and be sued; and (2) that because Mathison could suffer damages, a Wisconsin judgment against Mathison constituted damages.
But the district court failed to make any findings regarding any monetary or intangible loss suffered by Mathison or how the Wisconsin judgment applied. Without further findings of fact, we cannot effectuate meaningful review. See In re Welfare of M.D.O., 462 N.W.2d 370, 374-75 (Minn. 1990) (stating role of court of appeals is to correct errors, not to find facts). Therefore, we remand this matter to the district court to make findings regarding Mathison's alleged damages in such proceedings as the district court deems appropriate.
Finally, the parties raise arguments regarding the applicability of the so-called "judgment rule." See Gray v. Grain Dealers Mut. Ins. Co., 871 F.2d 1128, 1131 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (noting that Minnesota follows the "judgment rule," by which an entry of judgment in excess of policy limits alone is sufficient damage to sustain recovery from an insurer for breach of duty). Because the district court did not address the applicability of this rule in its order, we decline to address it on appeal. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (noting that reviewing court should consider only those issues presented to and considered by the trial court).
Reversed and remanded.
[*] Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.