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Zinnel v. Berghuis Construction Co.

274 N.W.2d 495 (1979)

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Zinnel v. Berghuis Construction Co.

Minnesota Supreme Court

274 N.W.2d 495 (1979)

Facts

The Zinnel family was involved in a two-car accident on a highway bypass that was under construction. Mrs. Zinnel died, and Mr. Zinnel and two of his children were injured in the accident. Mr. Zinnel (plaintiff) sued Berghuis Construction Company and the Minnesota Valley Improvement Company (MVIC) (defendants) for their alleged negligence in the signing, striping, and barricading of the highway construction project. Albert M. Teigum, the driver of the second car and the third-party defendant, also died in the accident. At trial, there was minimal evidence of how the accident happened, and there were no eyewitnesses. The evidence equally supported two or more inconsistent inferences as to what caused the accident. The trial court granted Berghuis and MVIC’s motion for directed verdict because there was insufficient evidence that the alleged negligence of Berghuis and MVIC proximately caused the accident. Zinnel appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Peterson, J.)

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