Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court
Holm v. Holm
In the State of North Dakota, Joshua Holm appealed from a district court's decision to issue a disorderly conduct restraining order preventing him from contacting Heidi Holm for six months. The couple's marriage had deteriorated and they agreed to separate; however, Heidi alleged that Joshua had taken money from her safe and joint checking accounts, attempted to force her into sex, and had weapons, causing her to fear him. The Supreme Court of North Dakota reversed the decision, stating that the district court had abused its discretion by issuing the restraining order without finding that Joshua intended to adversely affect Heidi's safety, security, or privacy. The court noted that while Joshua had admittedly visited the marital home against Heidi’s wishes, this alone did not establish reasonable grounds for a restraining order. The court concluded that Heidi, as the petitioner, bore the burden of proving Joshua acted with adverse intent, which she failed to do. The restraining order was, therefore, reversed. View "Holm v. Holm" on Justia Law
Albertson v. Albertson
In the State of North Dakota, the Supreme Court was asked to review a lower court's decision to grant a disorderly conduct restraining order. The petitioner, Hattie Albertson, had filed for this restraining order against the respondent, Trent Albertson. The District Court of Bottineau County had granted the restraining order in favor of Hattie Albertson and their minor child, C.W.A., for a period of one year. This decision was appealed by Trent Albertson, and the Supreme Court retained jurisdiction and remanded the case to the lower court for more detailed findings. Upon review of these additional findings, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision to maintain the restraining order.The lower court had found that Trent Albertson had made multiple threatening phone calls over two days, including threats of violence against a friend of the minor child and towards the child as well. These threats and the respondent's actions, including attempting to forcefully enter Hattie Albertson's home, led her to leave the home out of fear. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court's decision, finding the evidence and testimony presented sufficient to believe that acts constituting disorderly conduct had been committed.Trent Albertson had argued on appeal that the restraining order effectively modified a residential responsibility schedule without necessary hearings and considerations. However, the Supreme Court declined to address this argument as it was raised for the first time on appeal, and had not been presented to the lower court for consideration. The Supreme Court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the disorderly conduct restraining order and affirmed the decision. View "Albertson v. Albertson" on Justia Law
Pagel, et al. v. Weikum
Jeffrey Weikum appealed a district court order and judgment denying his motion to compel arbitration, and granting Rodney Pagel and Scott Hager's motion for summary judgment. The parties agreed to dissolve their law firm, Pagel Weikum, PLLP, and entered into a Release and Settlement Agreement. The Agreement included an arbitration clause. Pagel and Hager filed suit against Weikum for breach of contract and conversion. Weikum moved to dismiss and compel arbitration. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed, finding the arbitration clause at issue in the Agreement was broad, and not limited by any exceptions. The Court concluded the district court misinterpreted the Agreement by finding the claims raised were not arbitrable, and by denying the motion to compel arbitration of those claims. View "Pagel, et al. v. Weikum" on Justia Law
Bravera Bank v. Craft, et al.
Michael Craft appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Bravera Bank’s (“Bravera”), denial of its motion for supplemental briefing, and the denial of its requests for continuances of both the summary judgment hearing and trial date. After review of the trial court record, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court did not abuse its discretion by issuing an order granting summary judgment before the scheduled hearing in the absence of a timely request, did not err in granting the summary judgment, and did not err in failing to rule on motions rendered moot by the summary judgment specifically. View "Bravera Bank v. Craft, et al." on Justia Law
Olson Family Limited Partnership v. Velva Parks, LLC
In Dencember 2022, Olson Family Limited Partnership (“Olson”) served a summons and complaint on Velva Parks, LLC through Velva Parks’ registered agent, Legalinc Corporate Services Inc. (“Legalinc”). Olson alleged it entered into a contract for deed with Velva Parks for the sale of its mobile home park to Velva Parks. Olson alleged Velva Parks breached their contract for deed by failing to pay the final balloon payment of $406,414 when it became due December 1, 2022. Olson sought to have the contract judicially terminated and canceled. Velva Parks appealed an order denying its motion to vacate the default judgment entered after Velva Parks failed to answer or otherwise appear withn 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Velva Parks’ motion to vacate. View "Olson Family Limited Partnership v. Velva Parks, LLC" on Justia Law
Kaspari v. Kaspari
Thomas Kaspari appealed a district court’s judgment entered after the North Dakota Supreme Court remanded the case for reconsideration. Jean Kaspari initiated divorce proceedings in 2019. The district court entered a second amended judgment following the Supreme Court’s remand; Jean served Thomas with notice of the entry of the second amended judgment in February 2023. On April 19, 2023, Thomas moved for relief from the judgment, and the district court denied the motion. Thomas served Jean with notice of the court’s denial of his motion on June 12, 2023. On the same day, Thomas filed a notice of appeal to the second amended judgment appealing the denial of his motion for relief from judgment. Because Thomas served and filed his motion for relief from judgment more than 28 days after service of the notice of entry of judgment, and the time to appeal the second amendment was not tolled, Thomas filed his notice of appeal more than 60 days after service of the notice of entry of judgment. Thomas asked the Supreme Court to review the order denying his motion for relief from judgment. The Court found Thomas only mentioned the order but did not present any argument regarding how the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion. Because the issue was not adequately articulated, supported or briefed, the Supreme Court dismissed Thomas’ appeal of the second amended judgment. View "Kaspari v. Kaspari" on Justia Law
Severance v. Howe
Randy Severance appealed the dismissal of his personal injury claim against Dr. Brenden Howe. The district court dismissed the case because Severance did not submit an affidavit containing an expert opinion to support a prima facie case of professional negligence as required by N.D.C.C. § 28-01-46. The North Dakota Supreme Court held Severance pleaded a cognizable claim for the intentional tort of battery and that N.D.C.C. § 28-01-46 did not apply to intentional torts. Accordingly, the Court reversed the dismissal judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Severance v. Howe" on Justia Law
Interest of A.I.
A.I. appealed a district court’s order continuing her commitment to the North Dakota State Hospital (“NDSH”) for a period not to exceed 180 days. She argued the court erred in not ordering a less restrictive alternative treatment as testimony supported A.I.’s needs could be met with a lower level of care. In addition, A.I. asserted the entry of an order, that indicated a waiver of the continuing treatment hearing filed after a hearing was held, was clearly erroneous. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court’s order to continue her hospitalization was not clearly erroneous, and the court’s order following waiver of treatment or continuing treatment hearing, as conceded by both parties, was entered in error. The Court affirmed the district court’s order for continued treatment and vacated the superfluous order entered in the record at docket entry 43. View "Interest of A.I." on Justia Law
Berger, et al. v. Sellers, et al.
Darren and Tamara Berger (“Bergers”) appealed a judgment dismissing their claims of violation of a planned unit development (PUD), breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, private nuisance, and negligence against their neighbors Jason and Krysta Sellers (“Sellers”), Sellers’ homebuilder Jordan Anderson and Big River Builders, Inc. (together, “Builder”), and the Misty Waters Owners’ Association (“Association”). Sellers and Builder cross-appealed the judgment dismissing their claims of defamation, interference with contract and business, and negligence against Bergers and neighbor Jeff Carlson. The central issue in this case was whether the PUD minimum setback from the bay could be changed by obtaining a new Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) without an amendment to the PUD. To this, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the PUD unambiguously set the minimum setback from the bay as the contour line in the 2005 LOMR-F and therefore Sellers’ home violated the PUD. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against Sellers for violation of the PUD, breach of restrictive covenants, negligence (drainage), and private nuisance (setbacks). The Court remanded with instructions to grant Bergers partial summary judgment on their claims against Sellers for violation of the PUD and breach of restrictive covenants and for declaratory relief (against Sellers) as requested in their motion for partial summary judgment. The Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against the Association for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. The Court affirmed the court’s grant of summary judgment on all of Bergers’ claims against Builder, namely the PUD violation, breach of restrictive covenants, and negligence. The Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against the Association for breach of restrictive covenants and private nuisance. The Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on all of Sellers’ and Builder’s claims. View "Berger, et al. v. Sellers, et al." on Justia Law
Discover Bank v. Romanick, et al.
On April 25, 2023, Discover Bank served a summons and complaint on the defendant alleging past due debt on a credit card. The defendant did not answer or otherwise appear. On May 25, 2023, Discover filed the summons and complaint, sheriff’s return of service, “affidavit of no answer,” and other documents supporting its motion for default judgment. In response, the district court filed a “Notice,” requiring Discover to serve a “Notice of Filing” of the complaint on the defendant and allow him 14 days from the date of the filing of the “Notice of Filing” to respond to the motion for default judgment. Discover then petitioned the North Dakota Supreme Court for a supervisory writ directing the court to vacate its order. The Supreme Court exercised its supervisory jurisdiction, granted the petition, and directed the court to vacate its order. View "Discover Bank v. Romanick, et al." on Justia Law