Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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Under the abandoned mineral statutes, the surface owner must mail a copy of the notice of lapse to the mineral interest owner's address if the mineral interest owner's address is shown of record. Ronald and Sherry Huebner appealed a district court's findings of fact, conclusions of law and order for judgment and judgment denying their request to quiet title in certain Burke County mineral interests. The Huebners argued the district court erred in ruling they did not comply with the notice requirements in the abandoned mineral statutes, N.D.C.C. ch. 38-18.1. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Huebner v. Furlinger" on Justia Law

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Mark Rath appealed orders denying his demands for a change of judge, an order denying his motion for an order to show cause, and an order modifying his child support obligation. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding Rath did not meet the statutory requirements for a change of judge, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion for an order to show cause, and the court did not err in modifying the child support obligation. View "Rath v. Rath" on Justia Law

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An indemnification agreement need not be in writing, and an agent's authority to enter into an indemnification agreement need not be in writing. Jim Leach (“Leach”) and Elizabeth Leach appealed a district court judgment awarding money damages to SNAPS Holding Company after ruling they breached a stock purchase agreement with SNAPS. SNAPS cross-appealed the dismissal of its breach of contract claims against Leach. Leach was the chief operating officer and majority shareholder of IDA of Moorhead Inc. Leach negotiated with Sanjay Patel, president and CEO of SNAPS, to sell IDA to SNAPS. During negotiations the parties discussed the effect of an employee lawsuit on the potential sale. The parties agreed SNAPS would be responsible for the first $100,000 of expenses associated with the lawsuit, and Jim Leach and IDA would be responsible for that portion exceeding $100,000. At a shareholders and board of directors meeting, the IDA shareholders and board of directors authorized the sale of IDA's stock to SNAPS for $1,180,000. A district court ruled IDA wrongfully terminated the employee and Leach breached a fiduciary duty. Leach and the selling shareholders of IDA refused to pay the employee lawsuit judgment. The employee filed the judgment against Leach in Arizona, and subsequently assigned the judgment to SNAPS and IDA. Leach objected to the filing of the judgment against him in Arizona. An Arizona court ruled SNAPS and IDA could not enforce the judgment against Leach in Arizona. The court concluded SNAPS exercised total control over the management and activities of IDA and was the alter ego of IDA. The Arizona court concluded both Arizona and North Dakota law prohibited contribution between intentional joint tortfeasors; therefore, allowing IDA to obtain contribution from Leach, its co-intentional joint tortfeasor, was prohibited in Arizona. SNAPS sued Leach and the other former IDA shareholders after they failed to pay the employee judgment. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the proceeding in Arizona relating to the filing of the employee judgment and SNAPS' lawsuit in North Dakota relating to the stock purchase agreement were based on different factual circumstances, and as such, not barred by res judicata. The Court reversed and remanded that part of the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Jim Leach that found otherwise. The Court also reversed and remanded that part of the judgment dismissing SNAPS' claims against Jim Leach. The Court affirmed in all other respects. View "SNAPS Holding Company v. Leach" on Justia Law

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The clearly erroneous standard of review does not permit a reweighing of evidence or reassessment of credibility. Richard Colling appeals a district court judgment awarding Adrienne Behrens primary residential responsibility of their child, R.W.B.C. He argued the district court's findings relating to best interests factors (j), (d), and (f) were clearly erroneous. He also argued the district court judge had a duty to disclose his involvement in an earlier case in which Behrens was a party. Concluding the record supported the district court's findings, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Interest of R.W.B.C." on Justia Law

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A party is barred from bringing an action for the recovery or possession of real property, unless the party was seized or possessed of the property within twenty years before bringing the action. The plaintiffs appealed an amended judgment entered after the district court granted summary judgment dismissing their claims against the defendants, seeking to determine title to real property. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not err in concluding the plaintiffs' action was time-barred under N.D.C.C. 28-01-04. View "Hageness v. Davis" on Justia Law

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A Department of Transportation decision suspending or revoking driving privileges may be appealed to the district court by serving the director and filing a notice of appeal with specifications of error in the district court within seven days after the date of the hearing as shown by the date of the hearing officer's decision. Fritz Opp appealed and the Department of Transportation cross-appealed judgments affirming the Department's decisions revoking Opp's driving privileges for 180 days and reciprocally disqualifying him from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear Opp's untimely appeals of the Department's decisions, and reversed and remanded for the district court to enter judgments dismissing Opp's appeals to the district court. View "Opp v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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A district court's contempt decision will only be disturbed on appeal if the court abused its discretion. A denial of a motion for reconsideration will not be reversed on appeal absent a manifest abuse of discretion. Mark and Kayla Rath were divorced in January 2013. The divorce judgment awarded Kayla primary residential responsibility of the couple's two minor children, with Mark receiving supervised parenting time. Mark appealed orders denying his motions for recusal, for an order to show cause, and for reconsideration, and from orders denying his demands for change of judge in child support modification proceedings. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded he waived his issues on appeal regarding recusal and the orders denying his demands for change of judge were interlocutory and not appealable. The Court further concluded the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion seeking to hold Kayla in contempt and motion to reconsider. View "Rath v. Rath" on Justia Law

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Section 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a), N.D.C.C., does not require both treating and non-treating physicians to testify at a medication hearing addressing a request to involuntarily treat with medication. M.G. appealed a district court's order authorizing involuntary treatment with prescribed medication. F.M.G. argued the district court erred in granting the request to treat her with prescribed medications, because the proper medical providers did not testify at the hearing under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a), and the mandatory certification requirements under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) were not met. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a) did not require both treating and non-treating physicians to testify at the hearing, and F.M.G. did not adequately raise the issue of whether the form used to request involuntary treatment with medication met the certification requirements under N.D.C.C. 25-03.1-18.1(1)(a)(2) before the district court. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order. View "Interest of F.M.G." on Justia Law

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While a long-term marriage generally supports an equal division of property, a court may unequally divide property in a short-term marriage and award the parties what each brought into the marriage. If the district court fails to comply with the child support guidelines in determining an obligor's child support obligation, the court errs as a matter of law. Angela Allmon appealed a judgment granting her a divorce from Aaron Allmon, granting her primary residential responsibility for their child, ordering him to pay child support, and distributing their marital property. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed in part, but reversed the child support award and remanded for the district court to correctly apply the Child Support Guidelines. View "Allmon v. Allmon" on Justia Law

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Mechele Greene appealed a district court's judgment dismissing her claim without prejudice for failure to serve an affidavit from an expert witness on Gary Matthys, M.D., within three months of commencing the action under N.D.C.C. 28-01-46. In 2013, Matthys performed a revision left total hip arthroplasty involving the femoral component, femoral head, and acetabular liner. In late 2015, Greene commenced this medical negligence action by serving a summons and complaint on Matthys. Matthys answered, denying that either he or any of his employees were the "proximate or legal cause of any alleged injury, loss or damage claimed by Plaintiff." Greene's attorney disclosed the existence of an expert witness willing to testify on Greene's behalf in a letter to Matthys' attorney in early 2016. Matthys moved to dismiss Greene's claim under N.D.C.C. 28-01-46, arguing Greene failed to provide an affidavit from an expert witness within three months of commencing this action. Greene opposed the motion. After review, the Supreme Court concluded, as to the use of the term "affidavit," N.D.C.C. 28-01-46 was clear on its face; the statute required Greene to serve Matthys with an affidavit from an expert; and Greene did not met the requirements of N.D.C.C. 28-01-46 as a matter of law. Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing Greene's claim against Matthys. View "Greene v. Matthys" on Justia Law