from the District Court of McHenry County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable Lee A. Christofferson, Judge.
William R. Hartl, Rugby, ND, for plaintiffs and appellees.
Brandon D. Rowenhorst, Minot, ND, for defendant and
1] Mike Normile appeals from a judgment entered after a jury
found him liable for breach of contract and awarded damages
to Brian Linstrom and Leisa Bennett. Because we conclude each
issue raised was either waived or was not error, we affirm
2] Brian Linstrom and Leisa Bennett (jointly referred to as
the "Linstroms") hired Mike Normile to complete a
remodeling of their home for a price of $107, 000.00. The
Linstroms paid Normile the contract price plus an additional
$30, 000.00 for certain changes made during the remodel.
Normile believed the Linstroms owed more money for the work
that was completed. After failing to receive additional
payment, Normile put a mechanic's lien on the home. The
Linstroms commenced a breach of contract action against
Normile after they were unsatisfied with the work completed
on their home. The Linstroms' complaint also requested
the lien on their home be discharged.
3] The district court ruled on several motions in limine.
Normile's fourth pretrial motion in limine requested the
district court prohibit the jury from touring the residence
and property at issue. Normile argued it would be unfairly
prejudicial to permit the jury to tour the property, in part
because alleged remodeling defects had been marked throughout
the residence with sticky-notes. According to the record, the
district court granted both Normile's motion in limine to
prohibit the jury viewing of the residence and the
Linstroms' motion to have the jury view the residence,
signing both orders on the same day within minutes of each
other. At trial, the district court permitted the jury to
walk through the residence with the judge and bailiffs while
the parties and counsel remained outside.
4] During trial, the district court refused to permit
Normile's witness, Gary Kramlich, to testify as either a
fact or expert witness. The district court also refused to
admit certified copies of collection judgments against Brian
Linstrom. After Normile attempted to make an offer of proof
in support of admitting the judgments into evidence, the
district court determined the judgments were prejudicial and
were not relevant to the case.
5] The jury returned a verdict in favor of the Linstroms and
awarded damages in the amount of $119, 925.00. Judgment was
entered on October 26, 2016. Normile filed a notice of appeal
on December 2, 2016.
6] On appeal, Normile argues: (1) the district court erred
when it permitted jurors to walk through the subject
property; (2) the district court erred when it did not allow
Gary Kramlich's testimony or exhibits to be presented to
the jury; (3) the district court erred when it excluded
certified copies of collection judgments against Brian
Linstrom at trial; and (4) the venue for the jury trial was
unfair because of impermissible prejudice.
7] A district court "has broad discretion on evidentiary
matters, and we will not overturn its admission or exclusion
of evidence on appeal unless that discretion has been
abused." Davis v. Killu, 2006 ND 32, ¶ 6,
710 N.W.2d 118. A district court abuses its discretion when
it "acts arbitrarily, unconscionably, or unreasonably,
or when its decision ...