Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's order dismissing this action brought by Bingham Farms Trust objecting to a special assessment lien levied upon its property by the City of Belle Fourche and affirmed the court's denial of the City's request for attorney fees, holding that the court had jurisdiction to determine the enforceability of the lien against Bingham. The circuit court declined to consider the merits of the parties' arguments regarding enforceability of the lien and instead granted the City's motion to dismiss on the grounds that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court had the jurisdiction to hear and determine Bingham's argument that the lien was not enforceable against it, and therefore, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the City's request for attorney fees. View "Bingham Farms Trust v. City Of Belle Fourche" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (Department) on Landowner's action seeking a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, holding that Landowner did not demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact regarding regarding the proper position of the boundaries between the parties' properties. The Department entered Landowner's farmland to build a new fence after a survey indicated that the physical boundaries between their properties did not coincide with surveyed boundaries. Landowner brought this action requesting that the court declare the boundary to be at a historical fence line and demanding that the Department remove steel fence posts it installed to mark its surveyed boundary. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the Department. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding the proper position of the boundaries. View "Lammers v. State, ex rel. Department of Game, Fish & Parks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court affirming Meade County's denial of Hunt Companies, Inc.'s request for an abatement and refund of taxes overpaid, holding that, although the County overvalued Hunt's leasehold interest in a housing development, the circuit court did not err by denying Hunt's application for abatement and refund under S.D. Codified Laws 10-18-1. Hunt built the housing development at issue on land leased from the United States government. Hunt paid taxes assessed by the County on the property for 2011 through 2013. Hunt successfully challenged the County's valuations in circuit court, but the County denied Hunt's request for an abatement and refund. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the County was not required to grant Hunt's application for abatement and refund of taxes overpaid for the tax years at issue where Hunt chose not to use the pay-and-protest provisions of S.D. Codified Laws 10-27-2. View "In re Tax Refund Of Hunt Companies, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant insurer in this breach of contract action, holding that Defendant did not have a duty to defend Plaintiff in a case brought against him by his neighbors. Plaintiff was insured under a farm liability policy issued by Defendant. Plaintiff sold a portion of his property, and the purchaser operated a hog confinement facility on that property. Plaintiff's neighbors sued Plaintiff and the owner of the hog facility, alleging nuisance, trespass, and negligence. Defendant refused to defend Plaintiff against the lawsuit. After successfully defending the suit Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant, alleging that Defendant had a duty to defend. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant did not have a duty to defend where Defendant established that none of the claims against Plaintiff, if true, arguably fell within Defendant's policy coverage. View "Geidel v. De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Box Elder on William Maher’s claim that the City negligently operated its water system and caused his waterlines to break, holding that the public duty rule did not apply in this case. In moving for summary judgment, the City argued that the public duty rule precluded imposition of a duty because Maher failed to establish that the City owed him a special duty. The circuit court agreed with the City and granted summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the public duty rule did not apply in this case; and (2) the City owed Maher a duty to use reasonable care in its operation of its water system. View "Maher v. City of Box Elder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court determining that the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners properly granted two drainage permits to Jason and Vernon McAreavey and dismissing Plaintiff’s claims for damages, injunctive relief, and abatement of nuisance against the McAreaveys and the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners, holding that the circuit court’s judgment was not in error. Plaintiff appealed the County’s approvals of the McAreaveys’ two drainage permits and also filed an action for declaratory judgment against the McAreaveys and the County, alleging that previously issued drainage permits were null and void due to a lack of notice. The circuit court affirmed the County’s approval of the permit applications and granted summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief and abatement of a nuisance. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in affirming the County’s approval of the two drainage applications under the civil law rule; (2) the County’s assertion of jurisdiction was proper; (3) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claim for damages; and (4) the circuit court properly granted summary judgment on Plaintiff’s remaining claims. View "In re Drainage Permit of McAreavey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the dismissing The Institute of Range and the American Mustang’s (IRAM) lawsuit seeking to void a seventeen-year-old deed of conservation easement and to quiet title to its property, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of The Nature Conservancy on IRAM’s claims. Specifically, the Court held (1) because the statute of limitations expired more than six years prior to IRAM’s suit, the circuit court did not err in granting The Nature Conservancy summary judgment on IRAM’s fraud claim; (2) summary judgment was properly granted on IRAM’s ultra vires claim and claim to vacate deed for no meeting of the minds; and (3) the circuit court did not err in granting The Nature Conservancy summary judgment on IRAM’s claim to vacate the deed for failure of consideration. View "Institute of Range & American Mustang v. Nature Conservancy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the Brant Lake Sanitary District on Plaintiffs’ claims alleging a taking or damaging of their property and nuisance, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting the District’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs owned property a short distance from a new sewage lagoon built by the District to process wastewater from the Brant Lake area. In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the District’s new pond violated the general nuisance statute, the statutory prohibition against pollution of state waters, and a county ordinance. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint bringing an additional claim of inverse condemnation. The circuit court granted the District’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) questions of fact did not exist regarding Plaintiffs’ inverse condemnation claim, and Plaintiffs failed to present a claim of inverse condemnation; and (2) Plaintiffs failed to establish a cause of action based upon nuisance. View "Krsnak v. Brant Lake Sanitary District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment affirming a hearing examiner’s decision that an exemption from taxation for real property be increased to 100 percent but reversed the award of attorney fees, holding that the circuit court correctly upheld the hearing examiner’s decision but erred in its award of attorney fees. The Pennington County Board of Equalization established an exemption of thirty-two percent for the 2017 tax year for real property owned by American Legion Home Association Post 22. On American Legion’s administrative appeal, the hearing examiner concluded that the real property qualified for a 100 percent exemption under S.D. Codified Laws 10-4-9.2. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in affirming the hearing examiner’s decision that the property was entitled to a 100 percent exemption under the statute; but (2) awarded attorney fees without sufficient information to determine a reasonable fee. The Court remanded the attorney fee issue. View "American Legion Home Ass’n Post 22 v. Pennington County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Larry Weisser, holding that Kayla Fluth’s satisfaction of judgment against Schoenfelder Construction, Inc. did not automatically discharge Weisser. Fluth sued Weissar and Schoenfelder to recover damages for flooding in her basement caused by a waterline leak on Weissar’s property. Prior to trial, Fluth accepted Schoenfelder’s offer of judgment for $7,500 and filed a satisfaction of judgment. Thereafter, Weisser filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that a satisfaction of judgment discharges all other joint tortfeasors from liability. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Fluth did not discharge Weisser from liability if the satisfaction of judgment did not reflect a full satisfaction of Fluth’s damages, and on remand the court must determine whether Schoenfelder’s satisfaction of judgment was a full or partial satisfaction. View "Fluth v. Schoenfelder" on Justia Law