Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiffs awarding damages and an easement enabling Plaintiffs to install an independent tile line underneath Defendant’s property. Uphill landowners (Plaintiffs) and downhill landowner (Defendant) agreed to connect their drain-tile systems to allow for improved drainage across their parcels. Plaintiffs built and maintained an independent tile line that ran across Defendant’s property. Defendant experienced flooding. Believing that the connection of Plaintiffs’ drain tile to his system was the cause, Defendant obstructed the connection and then disconnected his drain-tile system from Plaintiffs’ system, causing water to pool on Plaintiffs’ property. Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking damages and an order permitting them to reconnect the two systems. Defendant counterclaimed arguing that Plaintiffs unlawfully discharged water onto his land. The circuit court held in favor of Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in concluding that promissory estoppel entitled Plaintiffs to damages and an easement because the parties agreed that Plaintiffs would discharge water into Defendant’s drain-tile system; but (2) erred in concluding a trespass occurred because Defendant did not cause water to enter Plaintiffs’ land where the water was already on the land and Defendant simply caused it to remain there. View "Zwart v. Penning" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Petitioners' petition for a writ of mandamus, in which Petitioners sought to force Waubay Township to maintain roads accessing their property. In denying the writ, the circuit court determined that the Township had no duty to maintain the roads because they were not part of the township road system. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Petitioners failed to meet their burden of proving that the Township was required to maintain the roads under S.D. Codified Laws 31-13-1; and (2) therefore, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for writ of mandamus. View "Coester v. Waubay Township" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Petitioners' petition for a writ of mandamus, in which Petitioners sought to force Waubay Township to maintain roads accessing their property. In denying the writ, the circuit court determined that the Township had no duty to maintain the roads because they were not part of the township road system. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Petitioners failed to meet their burden of proving that the Township was required to maintain the roads under S.D. Codified Laws 31-13-1; and (2) therefore, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for writ of mandamus. View "Coester v. Waubay Township" 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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At issue was the Meade County Board of County Commissioners’ order approving incorporation of a proposed municipality of Buffalo Chip City and setting an election for voters to decide whether to assent to incorporation. After denying a request to stay the election, the election was held, and a majority of voters chose to incorporate Buffalo Chip City. The Board then declared Buffalo Chip City formally incorporated. The circuit court heard Appellees’ appeal and issued a judgment declaring that the Board’s order was invalid, that the election was a nullity, and that Buffalo Chip City was void. The Supreme Court reversed and vacated the circuit court’s judgment, holding that S.D. Codified Laws 9-3-20 requires that any action challenging Buffalo Chip City’s incorporation be brought by the State, and because Appellees did not bring their suit on behalf of the State, the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Lippold v. Meade County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s issuance of an injunction requiring modification or reconstruction of a new home but reversed the circuit court’s conclusion that the City of Sioux Falls owed adjacent property owners a duty to properly enforce building codes. Property owners adjacent to a newly constructed home located within a historic district sought the injunction and also alleged that the City was negligent in issuing a building permit and failing to enforce state regulations on new construction in historic districts as well as a local ordinance governing chimneys. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court did not err in granting an injunction with respect to the historic-district regulations; but (2) the circuit court erred in concluding that the new home violated the chimney ordinance and that the City owed a duty to the adjacent owners. View "McDowell v. Sapienza" on Justia Law

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Dallas Schott, owner of Corson County Feeders, Inc., sued South Dakota Wheat Growers Association (SDWG), alleging its agronomist incorrectly prescribed a herbicide that Schott sprayed on his 2014 sunflower crop. The herbicide was not labeled for use on all of Schott’s sunflowers, and 1,200 acres were destroyed. The circuit court granted SDWG summary judgment, ruling that Schott assumed the risk. After review, the South Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded after finding there were disputed issues of fact concerning Schott’s knowledge and appreciation of the risk. View "Schott v. So. Dakota Wheat Growers Assn." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the judgment of the circuit court, through formal condemnation proceedings, approving the petition of Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and Otter Tail Power Co. (collectively, Utilities) seeking easements to construct a powerline across four parcels belonging to Parkshill Farms, LLC, Reuben Parks, Vera Parks, and Ordean Parks. The court held (1) the easements were taken for a public use; (2) the Utilities’ necessity determination was not an abuse of discretion; but (3) the circuit court did not adequately instruct the jury on the appropriate measure of compensation due for the easements. The court remanded for a new trial on compensation. View "Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. v. Parkshill Farms, LLC" on Justia Law