Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court denying Appellants’ motion to intervene in a partnership dissolution action, holding that Appellants failed to meet the tripartite test necessary for intervention as a matter of right under S.D. Codified Laws 15-6-24(a)(2). Appellants entered into a farm lease/cash rent agreement with Berbos Farms General Partnership. Appellants sued Berbos Farms to recover unpaid cash rent under the lease for the years 2015. During discovery, Appellants learned that Joe and Lisa Berbos, partners in Berbos Farms, had filed a separate action to dissolve Berbos Farms. Seeking to preserve their right to payment of the 2015 cash rent in the event Berbos Farms was dissolved, Appellants move to intervene in the partnership dissolution action. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Appellants failed to show that the claim for unpaid cash rent might be impaired by the disposition of the partnership dissolution lawsuit, the circuit court correctly denied the motion to intervene under section 15-6-24(a)(2). View "Berbos v. Berbos" on Justia Law

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In this consolidated appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court denying Appellants’ motions for an enlargement of time to serve their complaints and dismissing their actions against Appellee, holding that the court’s decision to deny Appellants’ motions for enlargement of time was not justified by the evidence. Appellants commenced separate actions against Appellee by service of a summons without a complaint, and no Appellant served a complaint upon Appellee within twenty days as required by statute. After Appellee filed a motion to dismiss the cases, Appellants unsuccessfully moved for an enlargement of time to serve their complaints. The circuit court dismissed Appellants’ cases, and Appellants moved for relief from the court’s order on the grounds of mistake. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding (1) the circuit court made insufficient findings of fact regarding the interests of justice, prejudice to the parties, and excusable neglect; and (2) evidence in the record showed that these considerations weighed in favor of Appellants. View "Bullinger & Lippert v. S.D. Public Assurance Alliance" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the circuit court affirming the decision of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission issuing an order accepting the certification of TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP that it continued to meet permit conditions, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to hear Appellants’ appeals. The Commission granted a permit to TransCanada to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline in South Dakota. None of the parties in that proceeding appealed the order issuing a permit. Because TransCanada was unable to commence construction within four years, it certified that it continued to meet the permit conditions, as required by S.D. Codified Laws 49-41B-27. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the Commission accepted the certification. Appellants - the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Dakota Rural Action - each appealed. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court consolidated the appeals, vacated the circuit court’s decision, and dismissed the appeal, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeals. View "In re Keystone XL Pipeline" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant’s appeal from a letter sent by the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles denying Appellant’s request to review her parole date again. Appellant, a prison inmate, did not appeal from the Board’s adjudication of her initial parole-eligibility date. Two years later, Appellant requested the Board to reconsider. The Board declined, and Appellant filed an administrative appeal in circuit court. The circuit court dismissed the appeal with prejudice, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because (1) the Board’s letter was not an appealable “decision, order, or action” within the meaning of S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-30.2; and (2) it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to review the Board’s final parole determination. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) the Board’s letter declining an additional review was not a final decision in a contested case that could be appealed to the circuit court; and (2) because Appellant did not appeal the Board’s final determination within thirty days as required by S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-31, the circuit court correctly concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear Appellant’s appeal. View "Peterson v. South Dakota Board of Pardons & Paroles" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellant’s appeal from a circuit court’s order revoking the clerk of court’s issuance of letters of appointment and the clerk’s statement of informal probate and appointment of personal representative, holding that the circuit court’s order was not a final order from which an appeal can be taken. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court erred in its revocation without giving Appellant notice or an opportunity to be heard. The Supreme Court held that, until further proceedings determined the rights of the parties as it related to the appointment of a personal representative and to the probate of the decedent’s will, the Court did not have appellate jurisdiction under S.D. Codified Laws 15-26A-3(2). View "Estate of Stanton W. Fox" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Plaintiff’s motion for a stay of a circuit court’s final judgment pending appeal and dismissed his appeal from a non-final judgment. In this property dispute, Plaintiff sued Defendant, and Defendant counterclaimed. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint on summary judgment. Neither the counterclaims nor the pending motions for attorney’s fees were addressed, however. Defendant appealed. Thereafter, the circuit court filed a final judgment disposing of all pending claims. Plaintiff filed a motion to stay execution of that part of the circuit court’s final judgment ordering immediate release of the lis pendens Plaintiff had previously filed as to the property at issue in this case. The circuit court denied the stay. Plaintiff then moved the Supreme Court for special relief to grant the stay and filed a second notice of appeal as to the circuit court’s final judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff’s first appeal of the summary judgment because it was not final but granted his motion for special relief and stayed execution of the lower court’s judgment relating to the lis pendens, holding that the circuit court should have granted Plaintiff’s motion for a stay under the circumstances of this case. View "Healy v. Osborne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Plaintiff’s motion for a stay of a circuit court’s final judgment pending appeal and dismissed his appeal from a non-final judgment. In this property dispute, Plaintiff sued Defendant, and Defendant counterclaimed. The Supreme Court dismissed the complaint on summary judgment. Neither the counterclaims nor the pending motions for attorney’s fees were addressed, however. Defendant appealed. Thereafter, the circuit court filed a final judgment disposing of all pending claims. Plaintiff filed a motion to stay execution of that part of the circuit court’s final judgment ordering immediate release of the lis pendens Plaintiff had previously filed as to the property at issue in this case. The circuit court denied the stay. Plaintiff then moved the Supreme Court for special relief to grant the stay and filed a second notice of appeal as to the circuit court’s final judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed Plaintiff’s first appeal of the summary judgment because it was not final but granted his motion for special relief and stayed execution of the lower court’s judgment relating to the lis pendens, holding that the circuit court should have granted Plaintiff’s motion for a stay under the circumstances of this case. View "Healy v. Osborne" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellants’ denial of their request for preliminary injunctive relief against River Bluff Estates, LLC, holding that Appellants did not demonstrate the need for preliminary injunctive relief. Appellants filed a complaint against River Bluff, alleging nuisance (increased drainage due to physical changes to River Bluff’s property) and trespass (rain events causing an encroachment of the slope onto Appellants’ properties). Appellants requested preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages. The circuit court denied preliminary injunctive relief. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of preliminary injunctive relief and remanded for further proceedings on Appellants’ legal and equitable claims, holding (1) the circuit court erred in concluding that monetary compensation would afford Appellants adequate relief in this case, but nevertheless, Appellants failed to demonstrate that they were likely to suffer irreparable harm prior to a final disposition of the case on its merits; and (2) the circuit court’s factual findings and legal conclusions were not preclusive as to the merits of Appellants’ request for permanent injunctive relief. View "Hedlund v. River Bluff Estates, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Appellants’ denial of their request for preliminary injunctive relief against River Bluff Estates, LLC, holding that Appellants did not demonstrate the need for preliminary injunctive relief. Appellants filed a complaint against River Bluff, alleging nuisance (increased drainage due to physical changes to River Bluff’s property) and trespass (rain events causing an encroachment of the slope onto Appellants’ properties). Appellants requested preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages. The circuit court denied preliminary injunctive relief. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of preliminary injunctive relief and remanded for further proceedings on Appellants’ legal and equitable claims, holding (1) the circuit court erred in concluding that monetary compensation would afford Appellants adequate relief in this case, but nevertheless, Appellants failed to demonstrate that they were likely to suffer irreparable harm prior to a final disposition of the case on its merits; and (2) the circuit court’s factual findings and legal conclusions were not preclusive as to the merits of Appellants’ request for permanent injunctive relief. View "Hedlund v. River Bluff Estates, LLC" on Justia Law

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Sally Richardson alleged that her husband Michael forced her to work as a prostitute during the course of their marriage. Sally also alleged that Michael emotionally, physically, and sexually abused her, causing both humiliation and serious health problems. Sally divorced Michael on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, reserving by stipulation the right to bring other nonproperty causes of action against him. Following the divorce, Sally brought suit against Michael, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). The court, bound by South Dakota Supreme Court precedent in Pickering v. Pickering, 434 N.W.2d 758, (S.D. 1989), dismissed Sally’s suit for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Pickering held IIED was unavailable as a matter of public policy when it was predicated on conduct leading to the dissolution of marriage. Finding that Pickering was “ripe for reexamination for a number of reasons,” the South Dakota Supreme Court overruled Pickering, and reversed and remanded dismissal of Sally’s suit. View "Richardson v. Richardson" on Justia Law