This opinion will be unpublished and
                  may not be cited except as provided by
               Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1994)

                          State of Minnesota
                            in Court of Appeals

     Eugene C. Stauber, et al.,

Stephen M. Bauer, et al.,



County of Hennepin,
     Filed May 14, 1996
Crippen, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 9411648

Robert D. Boedigheimer, McCloud & Boedigheimer, PLLP, Suite 695, 5001 W.
80th Street, Bloomington, MN 55437 (for Appellants)

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Cory A. Carlson, Assistant
County Attorney, A-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for

Considered and decided by Amundson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and
Willis, Judge.
                        Unpublished Opinion

CRIPPEN, Judge (Hon. David M. Duffy, District Court Trial Judge)

Appellant challenges the trial court's summary judgment order dismissing
his negligence action against Hennepin County for failure to raise material
issues of fact regarding the elements of negligence. We affirm.

In September 1993, appellant Eugene Stauber was involved in a three-car
accident at an intersection maintained by respondent Hennepin County.(1)
        [Footnote] (1)The record shows that Eugene Stauber's
        wife is also an appellant in the case. Following the
        practice of the parties, we have addressed the case
        in terms of a single appellant.

Appellant contends that the traffic light at the intersection cycled too
quickly, causing vehicles behind him to strike his car when they were
unable to stop. Appellant was injured as a result of this accident.

Appellant's negligence claim is based in part on respondent's receipt of
three previous reports of a possible malfunction at the pertinent
intersection. The record indicates two reports of possible malfunctions
with the light in the two weeks before appellant's accident. In both cases,
a technician dispatched to examine the light found no malfunction and made
no repairs. Further, the record reflects a report of ``short timing'' for
the westbound light on the day of the accident. Again, a technician was
dispatched to the light, found no malfunction, and made no repairs.

To find a municipality liable in a negligence action, a plaintiff must
prove all the basic elements of negligence: (1) a duty, (2) a breach of
that duty, (3) that the breach of duty was a proximate cause of the
plaintiff's injury, and (4) that plaintiff in fact suffered an injury.
Schweich v. Ziegler, Inc., 463 N.W.2d 722, 729 (Minn. 1990). In
municipal negligence actions, a plaintiff must also show that the
municipality had ``notice, actual or constructive, of the defective
condition'' allegedly causing injury. Hansen v. City of St. Paul,
298 Minn. 205, 207-08, 214 N.W.2d 346, 348 (1974); Johnson v. Nicollet
County, 387 N.W.2d 209, 212 (Minn. App. 1986). On appeal from summary
judgment we must determine, viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to appellant, whether there are any genuine issues of material
fact and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law.
State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn. 1990); Fabio v.
Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993).

1. Notice

Appellant has not raised a material issue of fact with respect to the
notice element of municipal negligence. Appellant asserts that three
previous reports of possible malfunction with respect to the pertinent
traffic light alerted respondent that the light was not functioning
properly. But undisputed testimony in the record shows (1) that respondent
commonly receives reports of possible traffic light malfunctions, (2) that
such reports are often found to be unsubstantiated, and (3) that all the
reports cited by appellant were investigated and found to be
unsubstantiated. Thus, while the record shows that respondent had notice
three times that there might be a problem with the traffic light -- notice
that lost its effect when respondent checked the light three times and
found it functioning properly -- it never indicates notice to respondent
that the light was malfunctioning in fact. As a matter of law, the three
investigated and unsubstantiated reports do not demonstrate that respondent
had ``notice and knowledge of [an] inherently dangerous condition.''
Hansen, 298 Minn. at 209, 214 N.W.2d at 349.

2. Foreseeability

It follows from the above that appellants have failed to show that
respondent could have foreseen injury such as that sustained by appellant.
Foreseeability must be demonstrated before a municipality may be found
negligent; no duty is breached where a municipality cannot foresee that its
action or inaction could result in injury. See id. at 208,
214 N.W.2d at 348 (noting that recovery may be had against a municipality
if injury is foreseeable); Brittain v. City of Minneapolis, 250
Minn. 376, 388, 84 N.W.2d 646, 654 (1957) (stating rule that, ``where
injuries are caused by occurrences that cannot be reasonably foreseen, [a
municipality] is not liable''). Plainly, respondent could not foresee
injury as a result of a condition if unaware of that condition. Because
respondent had no notice of any defect in the traffic light and had reason
to believe the light was working properly, as discussed above, it could not
have foreseen accidents or injury as a result of the light's malfunction.

Moreover, even were we to accept appellant's contentions that the traffic
light cycled quickly and that respondent was aware of a quick cycling
problem, appellant has not demonstrated the foreseeability of injury.
Appellant contends that the short green light violated his ``driver
expectation'' that the light would be longer. Drivers, however, are not
entitled to rely on their expectations concerning traffic signals, but must
watch and obey the signals whatever their timing. Sonntag v.
Atkinson, 251 Minn. 328, 332-33, 87 N.W.2d 845, 848 (1958);
Christensen v. Hennepin Transp. Co., 215 Minn. 394, 399, 10 N.W.2d
406, 410 (1943). In sum, whether the traffic light was functioning properly
or cycling too quickly, appellant has failed to demonstrate the
foreseeability of any harm in connection with it.

3. Standard of Care

Moreover, appellant failed to demonstrate that respondent breached the its
duty to keep its streets safe by showing that respondent deviated from the
usual ``standard of care'' followed by municipalities in circumstances like
those presented here. Seaton v. Scott County, 404 N.W.2d 396, 399
(Minn. App. 1987), review denied (Minn. June 25, 1987). The record
is clear that respondent dispatched a technician to the traffic light after
all reports of possible malfunction, and that the technician in each
instance examined the light and its control mechanism for problems.
Appellant implies this response was inadequate, but neither he nor his
expert articulates any specific failings offending a standard of care, such
as evidence that prudent municipalities generally respond to
unsubstantiated reports of traffic signal malfunctions by shutting down the
signal or taking other action beyond that taken by respondent here.

Appellant contends generally that respondent failed to take citizen reports
``seriously'' and asserts that the failure of respondent's technicians to
find a malfunction after any of the three citizen reports in August and

September of 1993 ``could lead a reasonable jury to conclude that those
repair efforts were inadequate, and possibly incompetent.'' These
contentions do not exceed ``mere conjecture'' and cannot survive summary
judgement in the face of respondent's copious evidence that the light did
not malfunction, including respondent's uncontroverted evidence that the
signal continued to work for a year after the accident without repair.
See Bob Useldinger & Sons v. Hangsleben, 505 N.W.2d 323, 328
(Minn. 1993) (to survive summary judgment, a nonmoving party must
demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact ``[by] some foundation other
than mere conjecture'').

4. Other Issues

Because appellant fails with respect to notice, foreseeability, and breach
of duty, we need not address the causation prong of negligence briefed by
the parties. Likewise, having concluded that appellant's negligence claim
fails on its merits, we need not reach respondent's asserted defense of
municipal immunity. Finally, we need not examine respondent arguments to
disregard certain items submitted into the record by appellant. Even taking
these items into account, appellant's claim does not survive summary