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Wollan v. Jahnz

February 11, 2003

LEANNE WOLLAN, APPELLANT,
v.
JAYSON M. JAHNZ, DEFENDANT, GRIZZLY'S SPORTS BAR & GRILL, INC., ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Pine County District Court File No. C198947

Considered and decided by Halbrooks , Presiding Judge, Schumacher , Judge, and Hudson , Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

A common-law action for injuries resulting from providing alcohol to a minor is governed by a six-year limitations period.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Schumacher, Judge

Reversed

OPINION

Appellant LeAnn Wollan brought this action for personal injuries against respondents Grizzly's Sports Bar & Grill, Inc., Douglas Fore, and Susan Fore for providing alcohol to a minor. The district court granted the motion of Grizzly's and the Fores to dismiss the case, holding that Wollan failed to include Grizzly's and the Fores as defendants within a two-year limitations period. We reverse.

FACTS

On December 29, 1997, Grizzly's hosted its employee Christmas party. The Fores, sole shareholders and operators of Grizzly's, provided alcoholic beverages to employees at the event. Jayson M. Jahnz, an employee under 21 years of age, consumed alcoholic beverages at the party and became intoxicated. Later that evening, Jahnz was driving a snowmobile with Wollan as a passenger when the snowmobile flipped, and Wollan was injured.

Wollan commenced this action against Jahnz on August 20, 1998, alleging his negligent operation of the snowmobile. On January 13, 2000, Jahnz filed for bankruptcy protection, and Wollan's initial attorneys withdrew as counsel that same day. This action was then stayed pending the outcome of the bankruptcy.

On August 2, 2001, nearly four years after her injury, Wollan sought to amend the complaint to include Grizzly's and the Fores as additional defendants for a claim under Minn. Stat. § 340A.801, subd. 6 (2002). The district court initially denied Wollan's motion to amend the complaint, but it later amended its order to allow the inclusion of the additional defendants.

Grizzly's and the Fores then moved to dismiss the case, contending the two-year limitations period applied. Wollan argued that the proper limitations period was six years as a common-law negligence action under Minn. Stat. § 541.05, subd. 1(5) (2002). The district court granted the motion to dismiss, reasoning that the claim was similar to an intentional tort action with the two-year limitations period specified by Minn. Stat. § 541.07(1) (2002).

Issue

Is an action brought under Minn. Stat. ยง 340A.801, subd. 6, for providing alcohol to a minor who causes injury to another, subject to a ...


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