may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Agnes Murtha, et al.,
City of Minneapolis,
American Legion National Convention
Corporation of Minnesota, Inc.,
Filed March 4, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 9515922
Peter J. McCall, Stapleton, Nolan & McCall, P.A., 2300 Firstar Center, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Appellants)
Michael T. Norton, Acting City Attorney, Deborah A. Styles, Assistant City Attorney, 300 Metropolitan Centre, 333 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent City of Minneapolis)
James D. Knudsen, Leo I. Brisbois, The Crossings, Ste. 120, 250 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for Respondent American Legion)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Appellants Agnes and Joseph Murtha challenge the grant of summary judgment for respondents, alleging that there exist genuine issues of material fact as to their claim that respondents negligently maintained a Minneapolis Convention Center corridor. We affirm.
A landowner owes a general duty of reasonable care for the safety of invitees on its premises. Peterson v. Balach, 294 Minn. 161, 174, 199 N.W.2d 639, 647 (1972). Various factors such as the foreseeability of harm, the duty to inspect, repair or warn, the reasonableness of the inspection or repair, and the opportunity to repair determine landowner liability depending on the circumstances of each case. Id. at 174 n. 7, 199 N.W.2d at 648 n. 7. The plaintiff must prove the landowner's actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition to establish a landowner's duty to use reasonable care to remove it. Messner v. Red Owl Stores, 238 Minn. 411, 413, 57 N.W.2d 659, 661 (1953); Otto v. City of St. Paul, 460 N.W.2d 359, 362 (Minn. App. 1990). Constructive knowledge of a hazardous condition may be established through evidence that it was present for such period of time as to constitute constructive notice of the hazard. Anderson v. St. Thomas More Newman Ctr., 287 Minn. 251, 253, 178 N.W.2d 242, 243-44 (1970).
Appellants do not point to any admissible or otherwise probative evidence to establish respondent's actual or constructive notice of the presence of water on the floor. Rather, in their effort to preclude summary judgment, appellants rely on an affidavit of their expert witness stating that the maintenance and inspection procedures of the convention center were inadequate. The expert's affidavit stated
[t]hat the procedures for floor maintenance and restroom maintenance as used by the City of Minneapolis were inadequate for the level of demand and use of the referenced women's restroom at the time of the incident.
There was no reference to any standard (e.g., industry maintenance standard) to support this assertion; without such support, the expert opinion is without foundation and speculative, thus insufficient to defeat summary judgment. See MCC Invs. v. Crystal Properties, 451 N.W.2d 243, 247 (Minn. App. 1990) (expert opinion based on speculation lacks evidentiary value), review denied (Minn. Mar. 27, 1990); see also Bixler by Bixler v. J.C. Penney Co., 376 N.W.2d 209, 215 (Minn. 1985) (citing Fownes v. Hubbard Broad., Inc., 302 Minn. 471, 474, 225 N.W.2d 534, 536 (1975)) (party opposing summary judgment must demonstrate specific facts at issue for trial and cannot merely rely on general statements of fact, surmise, or speculation). Appellants also argue that the district court erred by applying the wrong standard for duty of care because the convention center is a "place of public amusement" and therefore a higher standard of care applies. It has long been held, however, that places of public amusement owe the same standard of care as defendants in other negligence cases--the standard of reasonable care under the circumstances. Hanson v. Christensen, 275 Minn. 204, 209, 145 N.W.2d 868, 872 (1966).
We conclude that because appellants have failed to show admissible evidence of a genuine issue of fact concerning respondents' actual or constructive knowledge of the alleged dangerous condition of the convention center corridor, appellants have not established that respondent owed them a duty. Without evidence of respondent's duty, demonstrated by evidence of respondent's actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition, appellants have no actionable claim. In view of our holding, we need not address the separate issue of whether the American Legion, as a convention center tenant, owed a legal duty to appellants.