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The principles of Conflict of Laws should not be held applicable to fact situations to bring about a result described when a determination to the opposite effect would be more in conformity with principles of equity and justice. When all parties involved in an action are residents of Minnesota, defendant bar is licensed under its laws and required to operate its establishment in compliance therewith, its violation of the Minnesota liquor statutes occurs in Minnesota, and its wrongful conduct is complete within Minnesota when, as a result thereof, a driver becomes intoxicated before leaving its establishment, the consequential harm to plaintiff, a Minnesota citizen, accordingly should be compensated for under Minn. Stat. Ann. § 340.95 which furnishes him a remedy against defendant bar for its wrongful acts. By this construction, no greater burden is placed upon defendant than is intended by § 340.95.
Plaintiff passenger sought damages under the Civil Damage Act, which provided that no civil action to collect penalty arose unless illegal sale in the state was followed by an injury in the state. He alleged that the bar illegally sold intoxicating liquors to the driver, causing him to become intoxicated in the bar, and that shortly thereafter, the passenger was injured while riding in the driver's car, which overturned in Wisconsin. The bar successfully moved to dismiss the action, claiming that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the action was governed by the law of torts, and that because the last act in the series of events occurred in Wisconsin, which had no Civil Damage Act, the statute could have no application.
Under the circumstances, was it proper to dismiss the plaintiff’s action?
On appeal, the court found that its holding to allow the action would better afford Minnesota citizens the protection that the Civil Damage Act intended for them. The court reasoned that all the parties were residents of Minnesota, the bar was licensed under its laws and required to operate its establishment in compliance, and that the driver became intoxicated in a Minnesota bar. Accordingly, the court reversed the order dismissing the passenger's claim against the bar.