BROWNSON, PLLC SENIOR LITIGATION ATTORNEY JOE LULIC OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN INSURANCE FIRE CASE
Brownson, PLLC is pleased to announce that Senior Litigation Attorney Joe Lulic has won summary judgment in a case involving a fire that destroyed two commercial buildings. On March 11, 2018 a fire burned down two adjoining commercial buildings in Mazeppa, Minnesota. Its cause and point of origin was undetermined but some evidence indicated a heating stove in one building may have started the fire. The insurer of the adjoining building sued the owner and insurer of the building with the heater – Joe’s client – seeking to recover the cost of the destruction to the adjoining building. The two bases for that claim were negligence in operating the heater, and by an alleged disruption of the fire scene sufficient to constitute “spoilation of evidence,” and negligence of a bailee as the result of an alleged constructive bailment.
Upon Joe’s motion for summary judgment, Wabasha County, Minnesota, District Court Judge Christopher Neisen on May 27, 2021 dismissed all claims, and ordered summary judgment for Joe’s client. Judge Neisen held that the Plaintiff failed as a matter of law to establish either of its two claims; finding that there was neither a duty owed by Joe’s client, nor that removal of building fixtures from the burned building disrupted the fire scene, sufficient to constitute negligence. The Court further held that there was no constructive bailment created by one building owner to the other.
The case is, Mark D. Island and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. v. Jason D. Ferguson and Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Co., Wabasha County, MN, District Court, No. 79-CV-20-320.
Order for Summary Judgment and Memorandum2021-06-01 order granting summary judgment