Appeals court agrees U not accountable for woman’s fall

by Sarah Brownson

The Minnesota State Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling June 6, finding the University and the Minnesota State Fair unaccountable for a woman’s September 1996 fall.
Lorrie Rinn of Winona County fell while attending the fair’s annual 4-H horse show inside the coliseum.
According to court documents, she slipped and fractured her elbow because a puddle covered a coliseum step.
Rinn unsuccessfully sued the State Fair and the 4-H sponsor, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
State Fair attorney Joseph Flynn said the appeals judgment was fair. “(The coliseum) is a very large facility and to require the State Fair to be there and clean up the spill when it occurs would be impossible to do. The State Fair has a good staff that keeps the facilities clean, and they did everything that they could to see that the facility was safe for the people there.”
University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg agreed.
“The court reached the correct conclusion,” he said. “Neither the 4-H nor the U had anything to do with the accident.”
The accident was “unfortunate for everyone involved,” Rotenberg added.
Rinn’s attorney, David Vanderhayden, said he has not spoken to his client about the decision but said “she’ll be disappointed.” He also said the “appellate court issued a well-reasoned and thoughtful opinion.”