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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court dividing marital property, awarding spousal support and attorney fees to Kathleen Taylor in the underlying action for divorce, and levying contempt orders against Bruce Taylor in the proceedings, holding that the spousal support awards and the award of attorney fees must be reversed and remanded. Specifically, the Court held (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital assets; (2) the court abused its discretion by failing to reconsider the interim support order and by maintaining the order until the court rendered its decision seven months after trial; (3) the circuit court did not err in finding Bruce in contempt of court; and (4) the circuit court's award of attorney fees to Kathleen was an abuse of discretion because the award was not based upon an itemized statement of fees provided by Kathleen. View "Taylor v. Taylor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court affirming the magistrate judge's denial of Defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during a vehicle stop, holding the magistrate judge did not err by concluding that the stop was justified under the community caretaker exception. Defendant was convicted in magistrate court of driving under the influence. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress all evidence and statements obtained during the traffic stop, arguing that the police officer lacked reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the officer was acting in his community caretaking role when he stopped Defendant's vehicle in the parking lot, and the officer provided specific and articulable facts supporting his decision to stop Defendant's vehicle. View "State v. Short Bull" 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 judgment of the circuit court granting Father's motion to modify custody to award him primary physical custody of the parties' minor children, holding that the record supported the court's decision to award primary physical and legal custody to Father. In 2014, the circuit court entered a judgment and decree of divorce based on irreconcilable differences. The judgment and decree incorporated the parties' stipulation providing that Mother would have primary physical custody of the parties' children. In 2016, Father filed a motion for primary physical custody of the children. The circuit court held that the best interest of the children would be served by modifying the judgment and decree of divorce to award primary physical and legal custody of the children to Father. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court (1) had subject matter jurisdiction to determine custody; (2) did not err in concluding that Father did not have a history of domestic abuse; (3) did not err in determining that Father overcame the presumption under S.D. Codified Laws 25-4-45.5; and (4) did not abuse its discretion in awarding primary physical custody to Father. View "Shelstad v. Shelstad" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of aggravated assault by physical menace, holding that no error requiring reversal occurred in the proceedings below. A jury found Defendant guilty of the aggravated assault of his wife and his wife's sister. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding (1) Defendant was not prejudiced by the circuit court's decision in admitting a police officer's opinion on the nature of Defendant's wife's wounds, but the error was not prejudicial; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support both counts of aggravated assault by physical menace; and (3) the trial court erred in including a notation that the aggravated assault of Defendant's wife constituted domestic abuse when the jury made no such finding, but the remedy is to remand for entry of an amended judgment without the notation. View "State v. Scott" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from the habeas court's denial of Appellant's petition for writ of habeas corpus for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the certificate of probable cause issued by the circuit court was inadequate. Appellant was found to have violated the terms of his probation and forced to serve his sentence with credit for time already served. Thereafter, Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of his rights to due process and effective assistance of counsel. The habeas court denied the petition after a trial and filed an order for issuance of certificate of probate cause. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the habeas court's order for issuance of certificate of probable cause was insufficient to render jurisdiction to this Court. View "Wright v. Young" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting the Oglala Sioux Tribe's motion to transfer jurisdiction of an abuse and neglect proceeding to tribal court, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the Tribe's motion to transfer without hearing the testimony of the child's physician. After the child in this case was born, the State alleged that the child was abused or neglected. At the outset of what was to have been the final disposition hearing, the Tribe orally moved to transfer the abuse and neglect case to tribal court. The circuit court ultimately granted the Tribe's motion to transfer. The child's counsel appealed, challenging the circuit court's order transferring jurisdiction to tribal court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the Tribe's motion to transfer without hearing the testimony of the child's physician, who was present in the courtroom. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings to determine the Tribe's motion for transfer anew. View "In re Interest of E.T." 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 affirmed the judgment of the circuit court finding in favor of Plaintiff in this declaratory judgment action seeking underinsured motorist benefits under two insurance policies with Defendant, holding that the policy language was ambiguous and that underinsured motorist coverage applied. Plaintiff, special administrator of the Estate of Nehemiah Larimer, brought this action following Nehemiah's death in an accident. Defendant denied coverage pursuant to an "owned but not insured" exclusion in the underinsured motorist benefits endorsement. The circuit court, finding the language of the policy ambiguous, granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the language of the underinsured motorist endorsement was ambiguous, and therefore, the interpretation most favorable to the insured must be adopted. View "Larimer v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting Defendant's counsel's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's personal injury action after Defendant died during the pendency of the action and Plaintiff failed to move to substitute Defendant's estate or personal representative, holding that the circuit court did not err when it dismissed Plaintiff's case. After Defendant's counsel moved to dismiss the case, Plaintiff moved for substitution, arguing that the period for seeking substitution had not commenced because Defendant's counsel had not served notice of Defendant's death on Defendant's estate or personal representative. The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that Plaintiff's motion for substitution was untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) S.D. Codified Laws 15-6-25(a)(1) does not require service of the notice of death on the decedent's estate or personal representative; (2) the circuit court did not err when it denied Plaintiff's motion for substitution as untimely and when it denied Plaintiff's motion for enlargement due to an insufficient factual showing to support a finding of excusable neglect; and (3) under the circumstances, the circuit court did not err when it dismissed Plaintiff's case. View "Leighton v. Bennett" on Justia Law