may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Filed May 11, 1999
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 98-1469
Albert Kallys, 1502 Nicollet Avenue South, Suite 30, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (pro se appellant)
Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge, Crippen, Judge, and Amundson, Judge.
In this contract action, appellant Albert Kallys challenges the trial court's affirmance of a conciliation court judgment in favor of Veronica Nutakor. We affirm.
In August 1997, approximately one year after she first contacted Kallys, Nutakor again contacted Kallys to make a reservation for the return flight of her son. Kallys then informed Nutakor that the ticket was missing. Nutakor attempted to have the ticket reissued but was unsuccessful. Nutakor had to purchase a new ticket for her son's return trip. Kallys refunded Nutakor $150 and gave her a photocopy of the original ticket. At trial, Nutakor claimed she was entitled to the difference between the cost of the new ticket and the $150 refunded from Kallys.
In its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order, the court concluded as follows: (1) Kallys accepted $150 from Nutakor to extend her son's airline ticket; (2) Nutakor reasonably relied on Kallys to extend the ticket; (3) Nutakor was forced to spend $983.40 to replace the ticket; (4) Kallys would have had to pay $150 to have her ticket extended, so her damages were to be reduced by that amount; and (5) Nutakor was entitled to recover from Kallys $833.40 plus statutory costs in the amount of $50 pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 491A.02. The trial court concluded that Nutakor had presented a viable claim of estoppel and ordered judgment in her favor.
In his brief, Kallys raises numerous claims and arguments with respect to the lack of evidence in the record to support a contract, agreement, or warranty. Kallys also attempts to argue that Nutakor is not a real party in interest. These arguments, however, were not raised or addressed in the trial court and therefore, we will not address these issues on appeal. Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988). Further, while Kallys did bring a motion for new trial, this motion was supported only by his affidavit, which he essentially attempted to refute the testimony of Nutakor, rather than raising any legal defenses to Nutakor's claim. The trial court denied this motion without making any findings. This court's review of the trial court's decision should be confined to a review of those issues determined in its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order. Id. (concluding party may not obtain review by raising same general issue litigated below, but under different theory). See Pacific Mut. Door Co. v. James, 465 N.W.2d 696, 701 (Minn. App. 1991) (concluding where trial court fails to make specific findings of fact or conclusions of law on issue and claimed omission not brought to attention of court by motion for amended facts, this court will not review issues).
Therefore, the only claim that this court can address is whether the record was sufficient for the trial court to conclude that Nutakor reasonably relied on Kallys's representations that he could extend her son's ticket for $150. Promissory estoppel requires a claimant to demonstrate (a) reliance on a promise and (b) that the promise must be enforced to avoid injustice. Ruud v. Great Plains Supply, Inc., 526 N.W.2d 369, 372 (Minn. 1995). "[E]stablishing the reasonableness of the reliance is essential to any cause of action in which detrimental reliance is an element." Nicollet Restoration, Inc. v. City of St. Paul, 533 N.W.2d 845, 848 (Minn. 1995). Whether a purported cause of action sounds in contract or in tort, it can succeed only if the claimant can show that his or her reliance on the alleged promise or misrepresentation was reasonable. Id.
In disputing the trial court's conclusions, Kallys seems to be alleging that Nutakor's reliance on his representations was not reasonable because (1) it is a matter of "common knowledge" that extending airline tickets is expensive; and (2) any agreement to extend the ticket beyond the planned travel time can only be authorized by the host airline.
Ordinarily, the reasonableness of reliance is a fact question for the trier of fact. Id.; Hanks v. Hubbard Broad., Inc., 493 N.W.2d 302, 310 (Minn. App. 1992) (stating that where a promise is not in plain contradiction of a contract, the question of legal reliance is for the trier of fact), review denied (Minn. Feb. 12, 1993). Based on the record, the trial court's finding of reasonable reliance is not clearly erroneous. It had both parties before it and, thus, was able to judge the respective credibility of both Kallys and Nutakor.
Kallys asserts that it was not reasonable for Nutakor to rely on his representation that he could extend the ticket for $150 because it is "common knowledge" that such a process is expensive, this argument lacks merit. Based on Nutakor's testimony, we conclude that she reasonably believed the round-trip ticket, with the 45-day return, could be extended for one year. Further, Nutakor believed Kallys was representing to her the least expensive way to accomplish purchasing her son a ticket with an open-ended return date. Nutakor reasonably relied on Kallys's expertise in making travel arrangements so that her son could have an open-ended return date. See Berg v. Xerxes-Southdale Office Bldg. Co., 290 N.W.2d 612, 616 (Minn. 1980) (question to be asked in determining whether reliance is reasonable is "not whether the representation would deceive the average [person]" but whether the representation was calculated to deceive "a person of the capacity and experience of the particular individual"); Lewis v. Citizens Agency of Madelia, Inc., 306 Minn. 194, 199, 235 N.W.2d 831, 835 (1975) (person with "no special competence or expertise in insurance matters" was justified in relying on insurance agent's interpretation of terms of policy).
Additionally, although Kallys asserts that only the airline could extend these tickets, the evidence indicates that Kallys represented to Nutakor that he could arrange to extend the return date on the ticket upon her payment of $150. In fact, Kallys cashed Nutakor's check for this purpose. The trial court was well within the ample discretion afforded it in concluding that Nutakor reasonably relied upon Kallys's representations to her detriment.
Nutakor testified that it cost her $921 to purchase her son's one-way ticket from Accra to Minneapolis, and she submitted documentation of this purchase. This evidence provided a reasonable basis for the trial court's determination of loss. The court reduced the estimated loss in consideration of the amount Nutakor would have had to pay to extend the ticket, arriving at a total of $833.40. There was a reasonable basis in the record to support this damage award.