may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
First Financial Bank, FSB,
a Wisconsin Corporation,
Harold H.G. Edwards,
Filed May 18, 1999
Dakota County District Court
File No. C5986761
Thomas J. Lallier, Teresa E. O'Halloran, Foley & Mansfield, P.L.L.P., 1108 Nicollet Mall, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for respondent)
Eric L. Crandall, 275 South Third Street, Suite 101, Stillwater, MN 55082 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Schultz, Judge.[*]
First Financial Bank (First Financial), a Wisconsin creditor, brought an action in Minnesota conciliation court against Harold H. G. Edwards for an unpaid debt owed on his credit card. After the conciliation court awarded judgment for First Financial, Edwards appealed. The trial court awarded summary judgment to First Financial, affirming the conciliation court judgment and dismissing Edwards's counterclaims. On appeal, Edwards argues: (1) First Financial failed to properly plead its breach of contract claim; and (2) Edwards's counterclaims were not released under prior settlements. We affirm.
On appeal from summary judgment, this court examines 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), see Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03 (setting forth trial court standard for summary judgment). Although this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom judgment was granted, summary judgment is appropriate against a party who fails to establish the existence of an element essential to its case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552 (1986); Fabio v. Bellomo, 504 N.W.2d 758, 761 (Minn. 1993).
The record demonstrates: (1) in its conciliation court claim, First Financial alleged Edwards had a balance of $1,579.71 due on his credit card; (2) in trial court pleadings, both parties defined the action as a contract claim; (3) in its motion for summary judgment, First Financial asserted Edwards contracted for the use of a credit card and "breached his agreement with First Financial, causing First Financial to suffer monetary damages," and that such breach occurred by Edwards "failing to make timely payments on his account"; and (4) in his answer, Edwards acknowledged he "contracted" with First Financial for the use of a credit card and that he "defaulted" on the "contract." Given these facts, First Financial's pleadings were sufficiently clear, and Edwards was cognizant of First Financial's breach of contract claim. See Northern States Power Co. v. Franklin, 265 Minn. 391, 394, 122 N.W.2d 26, 29 (1963) (holding functions of pleading are to give fair notice to adverse party with sufficient clarity to disclose pleader's theory).
[*] Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.