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The Supreme Court reversed and remanded a jury award of $260,464 after the jury found in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract and fraud claims against Defendant. In Stern Oil I, Defendant appealed a judgment awarding Plaintiff over eight years of lost profits in excess of $900,000. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, ruling that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract claims against Defendant and by denying Defendant’s fraud claims against Plaintiff.On remand, a jury found in favor of Plaintiff on both claims. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the circuit court erred by (1) instructing the jury on consequential damages and the foreseeability of Plaintiff’s lost profits to Defendant at the time of contracting; and (2) excluding Plaintiff’s evidence on four damage scenarios. View "Stern Oil Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court order, entered after a hearing, summoning William Joseph Wilkie to appear and testify in an out-of-state criminal proceeding in Clay County, Minnesota but reversed and remanded the order summoning Wilkie’s granddaughter, M.M.W., to appear and testify in the same criminal proceeding. In this consolidated appeal, Wilkie and M.M.W. argued that their rights as victims in the criminal proceeding were violated because they were not advised of their right to counsel during the circuit court hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part holding (1) because the proceedings in South Dakota did not implicate S.D. Const. art. VI, section 29, the circuit court had no obligation to advise either Wilkie or M.M.W. of any rights under Marsy’s Law; but (2) while the circuit court did not err in finding that Wilkie failed to present any evidence of hardship for himself in ordering Wilkie to appear and testify in Minnesota, the circuit court failed to make adequate findings on M.M.W.’s claim of hardship. View "In re Issuance of a Summons Compelling an Essential Witness to Appear & Testify" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court declining to instruct the jury on assumption of the risk in this negligence case. Ronald Jensen purchased plywood sheets from a Menard Inc. store. While an employee loaded the sheets onto the back of Ronald’s truck a gust of wind caused the plywood to tip over and fall on Ronald, resulting in severe injuries. Ronald filed a lawsuit against Menards for negligence, and his wife sued for loss of consortium. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Ronald’s wife and estate. Menards appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in denying Meanrds’ request for an instruction on assumption of the risk. The supreme Court affirmed, holding that an assumption of the risk defense could not be established. View "Jensen v. Menard, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Charlotte A. Wintersteen’s motion to amend her petition for court supervision of a trust to include a claim challenging the validity of the most recent amendment to the trust, holding that the circuit court did not err in denying the motion to amend the original petition as futile. Charlotte, the widow of Lee R. Wintersteen, sought court supervision of the Lee R. Wintersteen Revocable Trust Agreement upon learning that she had been removed as a beneficiary in a subsequent amendment to the trust. The circuit court granted the petition and assumed supervision of the trust. When Charlotte sought to amend her petition, however, the circuit court concluded that the amended petition would be futile because it was time-barred under S.D. Codified Laws 55-4-57(a)(1) where more than one year had passed since the date of Lee’s death. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Charlotte’s claim was time-barred; and (2) Charlotte could not take advantage of the relation-back doctrine for her extinguished claim. View "In re Wintersteen Revocable Trust Agreement" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates

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McKie Ford Lincoln, Inc. filed suit against Scott Hanna, its former sales manager, and Gateway Automotive, LLC, the automobile dealership Hanna owned, seeking to enforce a non-competition and disclosure agreement that Hanna signed when he was hired by McKie Ford. Hanna and Gateway filed a counterclaim against McKie Ford alleging a cause of action for barratry. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The circuit court granted the summary judgment motion filed by Hanna and Gateway and denied McKie Ford’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of McKie Ford’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Hanna was no longer subject to the non-compete agreement when he commenced ownership and operation of Gateway, and therefore, Hanna was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. View "McKie Ford Lincoln, Inc. v. Hanna" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, and second-degree rape, holding that the circuit court did not commit prejudicial error in any of the issues raised by Defendant. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court committed several errors in its evidentiary rulings, erred by denying Defendant’s motions for mistrial, erred in denying Defendant’s proposed jury instructions, and erred by denying Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal. Defendant further argued that the accumulation of the errors constituted reversible error. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that there was no prejudicial error. View "State v. Kryger" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this second appeal regarding a contract dispute, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err, on remand, in concluding that the contract created a right of first refusal and that the contract was void as an unreasonable restraint against alienation. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err when it held that the parties intended to create a right of first refusal; (2) the circuit court did not err when it ruled that the contract constituted an unreasonable restraint on alienation and repugnant to the interest created; and (3) the court did not err when it refused to narrow the scope of the alienation to comply with S.D. Codified Laws 43-5-1 or another reasonable limitation. View "Laska v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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In this second appeal regarding a contract dispute, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err, on remand, in concluding that the contract created a right of first refusal and that the contract was void as an unreasonable restraint against alienation. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err when it held that the parties intended to create a right of first refusal; (2) the circuit court did not err when it ruled that the contract constituted an unreasonable restraint on alienation and repugnant to the interest created; and (3) the court did not err when it refused to narrow the scope of the alienation to comply with S.D. Codified Laws 43-5-1 or another reasonable limitation. View "Laska v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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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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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