This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




W. V. Nelson Construction Company,



City of Lindstrom,


Greystone Construction Company,


Filed September 8, 1998


Holtan, Judge*

Chisago County District Court

File No. C4-96-1042

Dale C. Nathan, Nathan & Associates, 3600 Kennebec Drive, Suite 7B, Eagan, MN 55122-1039 (for appellant)

Roger N. Knutson, Joel J. Jamnik, Campbell Knutson, P.A., 317 Eagandale Office Center, 1380 Corporate Center Curve, Eagan, MN 55121 (for respondent City of Lindstrom)

John G. Patterson, Holly J. Newman, Moore, Costello & Hart, P.L.L.P., 701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 1350, Minneapolis, MN 55415-1823 (for respondent Greystone Construction Company)

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Amundson, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.



Appellant W.V. Nelson Construction Company contends the district court abused its discretion in denying appellant's motions to amend its complaint to (1) add a defendant; (2) modify factual allegations; and (3) add new causes of action. We affirm.


In June 1996, respondent City of Lindstrom (the city) advertised for bids for the design and construction of a municipal liquor store. Appellant and four other contractors, including respondent Greystone Construction Company (Greystone), submitted bids. The city informed appellant that its bid was the lowest received, but did not award appellant the contract, concluding instead that it needed additional information.

The city then altered the specifications for the proposed liquor store. As a result of these changes, all contractors that had submitted bids were invited to rebid. Again, appellant's bid was lowest, while Greystone's was second lowest.

After reviewing the second round of bids, the city awarded the contract to Greystone. Appellant protested the award. After hearing appellant's arguments, the city reaffirmed its decision to award the contract to Greystone.

Appellant commenced an action against the city and Greystone, seeking injunctive relief and money damages. The district court denied appellant's request for an injunction and granted summary judgment in favor of the city and Greystone. The court concluded that, because the contract was a "mixed design services and building construction contract," it was "not a contract as defined under the Uniform Municipal Contracting Law, Minnesota Statute Section 471.345, or as defined under Minnesota Statute Section 412.311." Nelson appealed.

On appeal, this court held that the mixed design services and building construction contract for the municipal liquor store was a contract subject to the competitive bidding statutes. W.V. Nelson Constr. Co. v. City of Lindstrom, 565 N.W.2d 434, 436 (Minn. App. 1997). The matter was reversed and remanded to determine whether the city had violated Minn. Stat. § 412.311 (1996) by entering into a contract with Greystone. Id.

On remand, appellant requested leave of the court to amend its complaint to (1) add a city council member as a defendant; (2) modify factual allegations; and (3) assert new causes of action for fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and intentional interference with business relations. The district court denied appellant's motions stating, among other things, that appellant was seeking to change the theory of its case largely because injunctive relief under Minn. Stat. § 471.345, subd. 14 (1996), is seriously limited. In addition, the district court stated appellant was not offering evidence that was not available when it commenced this action and had appellant initially pleaded all causes appellant believed it had, the city and Greystone may have taken other steps than those pursued in response to the complaint and, accordingly, appellant's proposed amendments would prejudice the city and Greystone.

After an evidentiary hearing, the district court awarded judgment in favor of appellant, concluding that the city had violated Minn. Stat. § 412.311 by awarding the liquor store construction contract to a party other than the low bidder, appellant, and accordingly awarded appellant costs incurred in its bid preparation of $6,272.

On appeal, appellant challenges the district court's denial of its motions for leave to file the second and third amended complaints.[1]


"The trial court has wide discretion to grant or deny an amendment, and its action will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion." Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993) (citations omitted). "A party may amend a pleading by leave of court, and amendments should be freely granted, except where to do so would result in prejudice to the other party." Id.; Minn. R. Civ. P. 15.01; see Brendsel v. Wright, 301 Minn. 175, 178, 221 N.W.2d 695, 697 (1974) (important consideration for trial court in deciding whether to permit amendment of pleadings is prejudice, if any, which may be caused to objecting party); see also Chan v. Katzenmeyer, 391 N.W.2d 907, 908 (Minn. App. 1986) (while acknowledging that Minn. R. Civ. P. 15.01 normally contemplates liberal amendment of pleadings, court found general rule only applies when amendment works no substantial prejudice on opposing party).

Here, the district court's denial of appellant's motions was based on the prejudice appellant's late amendments would cause the city and Greystone. We agree with the district court. Appellant's amendments in effect would have created a new lawsuit, with new claims, new parties, and new legal theories. Not only would this result exceed the scope of the issue remanded, but also it would unfairly prejudice the city and Greystone by requiring them to try a new action based on information that all was previously available and on legal theories that could have been asserted from the outset.

Appellant's argument that the evidence on which it based its second and third proposed amendments was not available when appellant filed its original complaint is without merit. Appellant asserts that the information it moved to add by amendment regarding the alleged wrongful conduct was specifically referenced in its first amended complaint as well as its memorandum in opposition to summary judgment. Necessarily, appellant must have had such evidence when it amended its complaint the first time. Appellant does not offer any reason, nor do we see any, why it could not have asserted its claims in its first amended complaint. The district court did not abuse its discretion.


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

[1] As to all respondents except Greystone, this matter appears to be moot because appellant has brought another action containing the causes of action it attempted to add in its second and third motion to amend.