This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).






American Family Insurance,
Catherine M. Marzolf,


Mulugeta Gebremeskel,



Filed December 5, 2000


Toussaint, Chief Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. C8983050


Allen E. Wallace, Brown & Carlson, P.A., 8085 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55426 (for respondents)



Mulugeta Gebremeskel, 1005 Portland Avenue, Apt. 112, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (pro se appellant)



            Considered and decided by Toussaint, Presiding Judge, Forsberg, Judge,* and Mulally, Judge.**

U N P U B L I S H E D  O P I N I O N


TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge


Appellant Mulugeta Gebremeskel contends the district court erred in finding him 100% negligent in an automobile accident and awarding judgment to respondents American Family Insurance and Catherine M. Marzolf.  Appellant requests that this court remand the case for presentation of more evidence, grant a new trial, or “dismiss” the judgment.  Because the evidence supports the district court judgment and appellant did not present newly discovered evidence warranting a new trial, we affirm.



            Generally on appeal from a judgment where no motion for a new trial was made, “the only questions for review are whether the evidence sustains the findings of fact and whether such findings sustain the conclusions of law and the judgment.” 


Novack v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 525 N.W.2d 592, 596 (Minn. App. 1995) (quoting Gruenhagen v. Larson, 310 Minn. 454, 458, 246 N.W.2d 565, 569 (1976)).  But see Korf v. Korf, 553 N.W.2d 706, 709-10 n.2 (Minn. App. 1996) (reviewing, in interest of justice, issues not raised in posttrial motion where both parties briefed issue and neither objected).  We will reverse a trial court’s findings of fact only when those findings are clearly erroneous, and findings of fact are considered clearly erroneous only if they are not reasonably supported by the evidence.  Fletcher v. St. Paul Pioneer Press, 589 N.W.2d 96, 102 (Minn. 1999) (citing Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01).

            Respondent Catherine Marzolf testified about how the accident occurred and submitted a repair estimate showing damage consistent with her version of the events.  Implicitly finding Marzolf’s factual description credible, the district court ordered judgment for respondents and awarded $1,255.33 in damages.  See General v. General, 409 N.W.2d 511, 513 (Minn. App. 1987) (deferring to factfinder’s credibility determination).   There is sufficient evidence in the record to support the district court’s decision.  See Custom Design Studio v. Chloe, Inc, 584 N.W.2d 430, 432 (Minn. App. 1998) (appellate review of bench trial limited to determining if findings are clearly erroneous, lack substantial evidentiary support, or are based on erroneous view of law), review denied (Minn. Nov. 24, 1998).

            Appellant also claims he should be granted a new trial to present relevant evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of trial.  Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01(d) authorizes granting a new trial because of “[m]aterial evidence newly discovered, which with reasonable diligence could not have been found and produced at the trial.”  Appellant wishes to present additional evidence, including Marzolf’s damaged car and testimony from the police officer who came to the scene and prepared the accident report.  This evidence is not newly discovered and could have easily been presented at the original trial if appellant had taken reasonable steps to do so.  See Swartwoudt v. Swartwoudt, 349 N.W.2d 600, 602 (Minn. App. 1984) (requesting testimony from known witness whose testimony was not requested at trial “does not meet even a liberal construction of Rule 59.01”), review denied (Minn. Sept. 12, 1984).  Appellant’s desire to present additional evidence, which he could have easily presented the first time, does not warrant a new trial under Minn. R. Civ. P. 59.01(d).  

            Appellant’s final argument is that the trial was procedurally unfair because respondent elicited evidence about appellant’s lack of liability insurance.  Because appellant did not object to the insurance questions and did not raise the issue in a posttrial motion, it is not properly before this court.  Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988) (noting this court generally will not consider matters not argued below).


*  Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

** Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. Art. VI, § 10.