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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in this declaratory judgment action challenging the validity of a zoning ordinance amendment passed by the Pennington County Board of Commissioners (Board), holding that legal notice was insufficient as to the Board, and therefore, the ordinance was void. The Board proposed an ordinance amendment as to a Pennington County Zoning Ordinance regulating mining permits. The Pennington County Planning Commission (Commission) ultimately voted to approve the amendment. The Board then voted to adopt it. Plaintiffs, three citizens, filed a complaint for declaratory relief seeking a judgment that the ordinance was void for failure to comply with the statutory notice provisions for the public hearings before the Commission and County pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws 11-2-18 and -19. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiffs had standing to challenge the validity of the ordinance and did not waive their objections to the statutory notice requirements; and (2) legal notice was insufficient as to the Board. View "Abata v. Pennington County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of four counts of rape in the fourth degree, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of solicitation of a minor, and a misdemeanor count of enticing a child away, holding that Defendant's sentences did not violate double jeopardy protections and that the State did not commit prosecutorial misconduct. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) his sentences for sexual exploitation of a minor and solicitation of a minor violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment because those convictions arose from the same conduct as the rape convictions; and (2) in asking about similarities between Defendant's step-daughter and the victim during cross-examination the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) any error in conviction and sentence for solicitation and sexual exploitation of a minor was not plain; and (2) Defendant did not show that the State's improper cross-examination affected his substantial rights. View "State v. McMillen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting third-party defendants' motion to dismiss a complaint filed against them for tortious conduct occurring exclusively on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, holding that the circuit court did not err in finding that it lacked jurisdiction. On appeal, Appellant argued that the circuit court erred in dismissing the third-party complaint and requested that the Supreme Court remand the case back to the circuit court for additional discovery on claims related to both subject matter jurisdiction and sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court correctly determined that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over the third-party complaint; and (2) the circuit court did not err by restricting Appellant's right to conduct additional discovery. View "Alone v. Brunsch" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In response to a certified question from the district court the Supreme Court declined to recognize a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance or expectancy of inheritance, holding that adopting such a cause of action and expanding tort liability to the already existing remedies available to estate litigants in South Dakota was unnecessary. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant, his sister, alleging claims for tortious interference with inheritance or expectancy of inheritance, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. The district court dismissed the negligence and breach of fiduciary duty claims then certified to the Supreme Court the question of whether South Dakota recognizes tortious interference with inheritance or expectancy of inheritance. The Supreme Court answered the question in the negative after considering the decisions from other jurisdictions and other policy considerations under existing law in the State, holding that Plaintiff failed to convince the Court that existing remedies were inadequate. View "Briggs v. Briggs" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court dismissed as moot the order of the circuit court entering a protection order against Christopher Garrigan prohibiting Garrigan from coming within a distance of 100 yards of the children named in the protection order, holding that the order was moot because the protection order expired, and none of the exceptions to mootness applied. Daniel Lewis, on behalf of his three children, sought a protection order against Christopher Garrigan, who was in a romantic relationship with Lewis's ex-wife, after Lewis learned that Garrigan was a registered sex offender. The circuit court entered a protection order against Garrigan. The order expired by its own terms after six months. Garrigan appealed, arguing that the Court should review the expired order because certain exceptions to mootness applied. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that none of the exceptions should be applied to review the expired order. View "Lewis v. Garrigan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court concluding that the validity of a trust's spendthrift provision prohibiting direct payments of Cleopatra Cameron's child support obligation to her ex-husband, Christopher Pallanck, was recognized by South Dakota law, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion. Cleopatra was a beneficiary of a trust containing spendthrift provisions established by her father. When Christopher filed for divorce, the California family court joined the trust in the divorce action. The family court ordered direct payments from the trust to Christopher. Citing a particular feature of California trust law a California family court previously ordered direct payments of Cleopatra's child support obligation from the trust as part of the couple's divorce. After the situs of the trust was moved to South Dakota Cleopatra sought a declaration as to whether the trust was prohibited from making child support payments directly to Christopher. The circuit court concluded that the trust was prohibited from making child support payments directly to Christopher. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court was not required to submit to the California order compelling direct payments form the trust when the self-executing enforcement was prohibited by South Dakota law. View "In re Cleopatra Cameron Gift Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and simple assault stemming from two separate incidents against Defendant's girlfriend, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by joining the indictments for trial and did not err by denying Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal on the charge of aggravated assault. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that the charges from the two incidents were inappropriate for joinder because the incidents occurred almost three months apart, involved different methods of perpetuating the alleged assaults, were not part of the same act or transaction, and were not connected by a common plan or scheme. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the court did not abuse its discretion by granting the state's motion to join the indictments against Defendant because the court properly considered the similar character of the two offenses committed by Defendant and indicated the importance of each offense as showing part of a common scheme of Defendant's domestic abuse of his girlfriend; and (2) there was sufficient evidence to establish Defendant's guilt for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. View "State v. Solis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for two counts of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. Defendant gained control of a police officer's Taser during an altercation. Defendant was convicted of resisting arrest and aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. On appeal, Defendant argued that a Taser is not a dangerous weapon and that he did not attempt to use the Taser to cause serious bodily harm to either officer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the jury could have concluded that Defendant attempted to use the Taser in a manner likely to inflict serious bodily harm upon the officers. View "State v. Foote" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing this suit against Marty Indian School (MIS), a legal entity of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on federal preemption, holding that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's claims against MIS. Plaintiff, the former high school principal at MIS, sued MIS and other involved parties after he was terminated. Plaintiff alleged claims for breach of contract, breach of settlement agreement, wrongful termination, libel, and slander, and requested punitive damages. The circuit court dismissed the complaint on the grounds of tribal sovereign immunity, immunity of tribal officials and employees, infringement of tribal sovereignty, and federal preemption. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal solely on a lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on federal preemption, holding that state court action in this dispute was preempted by federal law. View "Stathis v. Marty Indian School" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting the motion to dismiss filed by Waste Connections of South Dakota, Inc. on Kimberlynn Cameron's complaint, holding that Cameron properly initiated suit against Waste Connections prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations, and therefore, the circuit court erred when it dismissed the suit. Cameron brought a personal injury suit against Jason Osler after she was injured in a car accident. Thereafter, Cameron filed an amended complaint adding a claim for vicarious liability and naming Waste Connections, Osler's employer, as a defendant. Cameron, however, failed timely to serve Osler, and he was dismissed from the suit. In its motion to dismiss Waste Connections argued that Cameron's failure to timely serve Osler precluded suit against Waste Connections. The circuit court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the dismissal of Osler did not preclude suit against the employer for vicarious liability. View "Cameron v. Osler" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury