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Connolly v. Nicollet Hotel

Minnesota Supreme Court
95 N.W.2d 657 (1959)


Facts

The Nicollet Hotel (defendant) was hosting the 1953 National Junior Chamber of Commerce Convention. Various delegates and vendors at the convention served alcoholic beverages to attendees. Over the first couple days of the convention, a large number of cans and beer bottles accumulated on the hotel’s third-floor fire escape and on one of the adjoining sidewalks. An engineer working at the hotel observed this accumulation. Additionally, the assistant hotel manager received a report that water bags had been thrown from the hotel. Marcella Connolly (plaintiff) exited The Nicollet accompanied by a friend, Margaret Hansen. After walking several steps along the sidewalk parallel the hotel, Connolly heard an explosive sound and saw something hit the sidewalk in front of her. Connolly looked upward, and her left eye was hit by a mud-like substance. Connolly lost her balance and was caught by her friend. Connolly’s face and head became numb. Some of the mud-like substance was embedded in Connolly’s eye. The Nicollet’s assistant manager tried to help Connolly remove the substance using a cotton applicator. As a result of this accident, Connolly became blind in her left eye. Connolly sued The Nicollet for negligence. A jury found in favor of Connolly, awarding her $30,000. The Nicollet moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, arguing that there was no evidence that the substance that struck Connolly came from the hotel. The trial court granted The Nicollet’s motion. Connolly appealed, arguing that The Nicollet negligently failed control its guests.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Murphy, J.)

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