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Court of Appeals of Minnesota
June 27, 2011, Filed
Appellant challenges the district court's grant of summary judgment on his negligence and strict-liability claims. We conclude that the district court appropriately granted summary judgment in favor of both respondents on appellant's negligence claims. In granting summary judgment on appellant's strict-liability claims, however, the district court abused its discretion by sanctioning appellant for spoliation of evidence. Despite this error, summary judgment is still appropriate on appellant's strict-liability [*2] claim against respondent IMPACT Resource Group, Inc. But because genuine issues of material fact exist regarding appellant's strict-liability claim against respondent Target Corporation, we reverse and remand this issue for further proceedings.
In September 2004, appellant Kenneth Tabish was knocked unconscious and comatose for several weeks after crashing a bicycle owned by his friend, Joseph DeGrado, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The bicycle appellant crashed was a Huffy Surfside, which featured a fender partially covering the front wheel. The fender was made of a relatively flimsy material and required assembly at retail stores. Assembly involved attaching the fender anywhere along a sliding slot above the wheel; at the lowest slot location, the fender cleared the actual wheel by only 0.2 inch. DeGrado purchased the bicycle from a Target store in Utah less than a week before the accident. DeGrado attached a gasoline motor to the bicycle after purchasing it; despite this modification, DeGrado did not notice anything wrong during test rides prior to the accident. There were no witnesses to the accident and appellant has no memory of the crash.
Officer Michael Anderson, an accident reconstructionist [*3] for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, responded to the scene of the accident and collected the bicycle as evidence. Officer Anderson observed nothing abnormal about the road that could have contributed to the accident. Officer Anderson also noted a short, straight tire-skid mark on the road where the accident occurred, indicating that appellant had not lost control of the bicycle. Officer Anderson concluded that the fender came in contact with the front wheel, causing the wheel to abruptly collapse and flip the bicycle, tossing appellant over the handlebar.
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2011 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 627 *; 2011 WL 2519209
Kenneth Tabish, Appellant, vs. Target Corporation, Respondent, IMPACT Resource Group, Inc., an Ohio corporation, et al., Respondents, John Does I-X, Defendants
Notice: THIS OPINION WILL BE UNPUBLISHED AND MAY NOT BE CITED EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY MINNESOTA STATUTES.
Subsequent History: Review denied by, Motion granted by Tabish v. Target Corp., 2011 Minn. LEXIS 565 (Minn., Sept. 20, 2011)
Prior History: [*1] Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-07-10139.
Disposition: Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.
bicycle, district court, spoliation, fender, dock, strict-liability, crashed, assembled, genuine issue of material fact, summary judgment, manufacturer, grant summary judgment, argues, shipping company, grant of summary judgment, defective condition, negligence claim, physical control, front wheel, sanctions, seller, wrench, spoliation of evidence, duty of care, crewman, abused, wheel
Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Torts, Negligence, Elements, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Evidence, Relevance, Preservation of Relevant Evidence, Spoliation, Sanctions, Misconduct & Unethical Behavior, General Overview, Products Liability, Theories of Liability, Strict Liability