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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s judgment denying Landowners’ claims seeking to quiet title to their property and seeking a declaration that a certificate of renewal and amendment filed by a homeowners association (HOA) was invalid because it was allegedly filed in violation of the requirements established by a “declaration of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations for land[.]” The Supreme Court held (1) nothing within the declaration of covenants of the HOA or within its bylaws required that an election to amend the declaration of covenants’ term be conducted at an annual or special meeting of the members; but (2) the court erred when it determined that a required ninety percent of the members of the HOA voted to amend the term of the covenant. View "Harlan v. Frawley Ranches Planned Unit Development Homeowners Ass’n" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of fourth-degree rape, holding that the circuit court had jurisdiction to enter the judgment even where Defendant did not receive a preliminary hearing after the State filed an amended information. The State filed the amended complaint and information to correct a clerical error in the original indictment. Defendant was not advised of his right to a preliminary hearing, nor did he receive one, but Defendant failed to object. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) while the judge erred by continuing to preside over this matter after he deemed himself disqualified under the Code of Judicial Conduct, the error was harmless; and (2) Defendant waived the issue relating to a preliminary hearing when he failed to object before trial. View "State v. Shelton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for certain Internet sellers (Sellers) and enjoining the State from enforcing 2016 legislation extending the obligation to collect and remit sales tax to sellers with no physical presence in the state. Pursuant to the legislation, the State brought this declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that Sellers, who had no physical presence in the state, must comply with the requirements of the 2016 legislation. The circuit court enjoined the State from enforcing the obligation to collect and remit sales tax against Sellers, observing its obligation to adhere to Supreme Court precedent prohibiting the imposition of an obligation to collect and remit sales tax on sellers with no physical presence in the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court correctly applied the law when it granted Sellers’ motion for summary judgment. View "State v. Wayfair Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Brule County Board of Commissioners finding that Surat Farms LLC impermissibly altered an intermittent watercourse. Upon Albert Delany’s filing of a drainage complaint with Brule County, the Board found that Surat “altered the natural flow of the water” running from Delany’s land to Surat’s land and required Surat to restore the natural flow of water or otherwise ensure the drainage of the Delany property. The circuit court affirmed the Board’s decision in all respects. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the evidence supported the circuit court’s finding that Surat’s drain system improperly interfered with Delany’s drainage rights; and (2) the circuit court did not err in awarding injunctive relief. View "Surat Farms, LLC v. Brule County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s determination that Owners Insurance Company did not have a duty to defend Lowery Construction & Concrete, LLC in an action filed by homeowners Tony and Stephanie Hague. The Hagues sued Lowery for breach of contract, breach of implied warranty, and negligent construction. Lowery filed a declaratory judgment action against Owners seeking a declaration that Owners had a duty to defend Lowery. The circuit court determined that coverage was excluded because the damage to the Hagues’ home was caused by Lowery’s defective work. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Owners had a duty to defend Lowery because the Hagues’ complaint arguably stated a claim covered under Lowery’s commercial general liability policy. View "Lowery Construction & Concrete, LLC v. Owners Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this insurance coverage dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the denial of summary judgment in favor of Insurer but reversed the denial of summary judgment in favor of General Contractor. Homeowners sued General Contractor and Subcontractor for damages to their home. General Contractor, which was insured under a commercial general liability policy (CGL), requested defense and indemnification from Insurer. Insurer defended General Contractor under a reservation of rights. Insurer then filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a judgment that the CGL policy did not provide coverage for General Contractor in the underlying case. General Contractor and Insurer filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The circuit court denied the motions on the ground that a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the foreseeability of Homeowners’ damages. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment denying General Contractor’s motion and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the CGL policy required Insurer to defend General Contractor against Homeowners’ suit for damages and that factual questions regarding foreseeability were not relevant to the existence of coverage under the policy. View "Owners Insurance Co. v. Tibke Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Department of Game, Fish, and Parks appealed the administrative actions of Troy, Valley, and Butler Townships’ respective boards of supervisors that vacated portions of several section-line highways in Day County, arguing that the highways provided access to bodies of water held in trust by the State for the public. The circuit court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision in regard to Valley and Butler Townships but reversed and remanded in regard to Troy Township, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in imposing the burden of proof on the Department; (2) the question of whether the public harm of cutting of access to a public resource is outweighed by the public benefit in vacating the highway at issue is a policy question and therefore not properly answered by the courts; (3) the circuit court’s findings that the Valley and Butler Townships’ actions were not arbitrary were not erroneous, but Troy Township’s resolutions and orders were arbitrary; and (4) the Department was not denied due process. View "State Department of Game, Fish & Parks v. Troy Township" on Justia Law

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This case concerned the Douglas County Planning and Zoning Administrator’s grant of a building permit for a hog confinement unit. Landowners applied for a writ of mandamus compelling the Administrator and the Douglas County Planning and Zoning Commission to comply with the county’s zoning ordinance revoking the permit. After a trial, the circuit court denied Landowners’ request, concluding (1) the hog barn did not fall under any of the permitted uses of land for which a building permit could be granted; but (2) a writ of mandamus could not be used to undo an already completed act, and principles of equity would not entitle Landowners to relief. The Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the circuit court’s decision denying Landowners a writ of mandamus, holding (1) the circuit court erred in determining that the facility was not a permitted use under the ordinances; but (2) because construction of the facility had already been completed at the time of trial, issuing a writ a mandamus to revoke the permit now would be ineffective. View "Hoffman v. Van Wyk" on Justia Law

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The case involved drainage issues between adjoining landowners. Robert and Nancy Rumpza and Zubke Brothers LLC (Brothers) brought this action against David and Marilyn Zubke seeking an injunction and damages. They alleged that the Zubkes changed the natural flow characteristics of water draining from the Zubkes’ property to the Rumpzas’ and Brothers’ properties. The circuit court granted an injunction against the Zubkes and awarded damages to the Rumpzas and Brothers. The Supreme Court affirmed the injunction and Brothers’ damages award but reversed the Rumpzas’ damages award, holding (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting the injunction; (2) the circuit court’s factual findings regarding Brothers’ measure of damages were not clearly erroneous; but (3) there was no support in the record for the court’s findings regarding the Rumpzas’ measure of damages. View "Rumpza v. Zubke" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claim alleging negligence in constructing a retaining wall from which Plaintiff suffered an injury. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the grounds that the statutory time period to bring a claim had expired because the retaining wall had been substantially completed more than ten years prior to the commencement of this action. See S.D. Codified Laws 15-2A-3. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that section 15-2A-3 did not bar the claim at issue because Plaintiff met her burden to set forth material facts to avoid application of the statute. View "Brude v. Breen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury