Articles Posted in Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granted summary judgment for Debtor in this breach of contract case brought by Creditor to recover unpaid installments under a promissory note. In moving for summary judgment, Debtor relied on an acceleration provision in the promissory note, asserting that the statute of limitations had expired on Creditor’s claim six years after Debtor defaulted. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Debtor, holding that a material issue of fact was in dispute whether Debtor’s conduct following default warranted a different limitation period. View "Work v. Allgier" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court dismissed this appeal from a circuit court order granting Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that no statutory authority existed to entertain the appeal as a matter of right. Plaintiffs sued Defendant seeking a declaratory judgment and rescission of a contract for the sale of land and an incorporated lease. The circuit court issued a temporary restraining order against Defendant and a show cause order setting a hearing for preliminary injunction. Thereafter, Defendant filed a demand for arbitration. The circuit court entered an order compelling arbitration on all claims alleged in Plaintiffs’ complaint. Plaintiffs appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the order compelling Plaintiffs to engage in arbitration was not an order appealable as a matter of right under either S.D. Codified Laws 15-26A-3(2) or S.D. Codified Laws 21-25A-35. View "Stoebner v. Konrad" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court entering judgment on the jury’s general verdict in favor of real-estate developers (Developers) and against the City of Rapid City in this suit seeking to recover the prospective cost of repairing roads in a development outside Rapid City. Specifically, the Court held that the circuit court did not err by (1) denying the City’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability; (2) excluding evidence of the Developers’ litigation and settlement with their subcontractors; (3) granting one of the developer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law; (4) instructing the jury on estoppel defenses; and (5) not instructing the jury on the City’s public-nuisance claim. View "City of Rapid City v. Big Sky, LLC" on Justia Law

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The circuit court did not err in denying Sellers’ motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in this case brought by Buyers against Sellers of a house alleging violation of statutory disclosure requirements. Shortly after purchasing a house, Buyers experienced water-penetration issues. Buyers sued Sellers, claiming violation of the statutory disclosure requirements, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and negligent misrepresentation. The jury found in favor of Buyers on its statutory disclosures claim and in favor of Sellers on the remaining claims. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in denying Sellers’ renewed motion for judgment of a matter of law and Sellers’ motion for new trial; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in declining to award attorney fees. View "Center of Life Church v. Nelson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court ordering Eryn Winegeart to sell real estate she owned jointly with her former spouse, Weston Winegeart, holding that the court did not err by ordering Eryn to sign a purchase agreement signed by a third party. After the parties underwent mediation, Weston signed an agreement with a real-estate agent to list the jointly owned real estate, and the listing agreement included a commission for the realtor. After the third party signed the purchase agreement, Eryn refused to sign it, asserting that during mediation Weston had orally agreed to sell the property without paying for a realtor. The circuit court found that the parties had not entered into an enforceable oral agreement in regard to realtor fees and ordered Eryn to sign the purchase agreement. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err by entering its order requiring Eryn to sign the purchase agreement. View "Winegeart v. Winegeart" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s partial denial of Plaintiffs’ partial denial of their request for preliminary injunctive relief against Defendant, their former agent, holding that the circuit court did not err by enjoining Defendant only from soliciting business from Plaintiffs’ existing customers without also enjoining Defendant from selling to those customers. Plaintiffs, Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and Farm Bureau Property and Casualty Insurance Co., argued in their complaint that Defendant, after leaving Farm Bureau, breached the agency contracts he entered into with Farm Bureau by selling insurance policies to clients to whom he had previously sold Farm Bureau policies. In partially denying Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, the circuit court concluded that portions of the agency contracts that prohibited Defendant from selling to Farm Bureau’s existing customers was an invalid restraint on trade under S.D. Codified Laws chapter 53-9. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the plain meaning of section 53-9-12 supported the circuit court’s decision to adhere to that statute’s language. View "Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. v. Dolly" on Justia Law

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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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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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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