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Wegner v. Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Co.

479 N.W.2d 38 (1991)

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Wegner v. Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Co.

Minnesota Supreme Court

479 N.W.2d 38 (1991)

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Facts

Two suspected felons in possession of stolen drugs led the Minneapolis police on a high-speed car chase. The fugitives abandoned their vehicle and split up. One ran into the house of Harriet Wegner (plaintiff) and hid in a closet. Wegner’s granddaughter, together with the granddaughter’s fiancé, fled the house. They told the police about the fugitive. Police surrounded Wegner’s house. They fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades into Wegner’s house, eventually forcing the suspect out. The standoff broke every window in Wegner’s house and caused structural damage. Wegner asked the City of Minneapolis (defendant) to reimburse her for the $71,000 in damages to her house. The city refused. Wegner’s insurance company, Milwaukee Mutual Insurance Co. (Milwaukee Mutual) (defendant), paid Wegner $28,000 but denied the rest of her claim. Wegner sued the city and Milwaukee Mutual. Specifically, Wegner alleged that the police department’s actions were a compensable taking under Minnesota law. Milwaukee Mutual and the city moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the city. Wegner and Milwaukee Mutual appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. It held that the police department’s actions constituted a taking, but Wegner could not be compensated for the taking because it was a public necessity. Wegner appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tomljanovich, J.)

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