Articles Posted in Real Estate & Property 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 reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Box Elder on William Maher’s claim that the City negligently operated its water system and caused his waterlines to break, holding that the public duty rule did not apply in this case. In moving for summary judgment, the City argued that the public duty rule precluded imposition of a duty because Maher failed to establish that the City owed him a special duty. The circuit court agreed with the City and granted summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the public duty rule did not apply in this case; and (2) the City owed Maher a duty to use reasonable care in its operation of its water system. View "Maher v. City of Box Elder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court determining that the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners properly granted two drainage permits to Jason and Vernon McAreavey and dismissing Plaintiff’s claims for damages, injunctive relief, and abatement of nuisance against the McAreaveys and the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners, holding that the circuit court’s judgment was not in error. Plaintiff appealed the County’s approvals of the McAreaveys’ two drainage permits and also filed an action for declaratory judgment against the McAreaveys and the County, alleging that previously issued drainage permits were null and void due to a lack of notice. The circuit court affirmed the County’s approval of the permit applications and granted summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims for injunctive relief and abatement of a nuisance. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in affirming the County’s approval of the two drainage applications under the civil law rule; (2) the County’s assertion of jurisdiction was proper; (3) the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claim for damages; and (4) the circuit court properly granted summary judgment on Plaintiff’s remaining claims. View "In re Drainage Permit of McAreavey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the dismissing The Institute of Range and the American Mustang’s (IRAM) lawsuit seeking to void a seventeen-year-old deed of conservation easement and to quiet title to its property, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of The Nature Conservancy on IRAM’s claims. Specifically, the Court held (1) because the statute of limitations expired more than six years prior to IRAM’s suit, the circuit court did not err in granting The Nature Conservancy summary judgment on IRAM’s fraud claim; (2) summary judgment was properly granted on IRAM’s ultra vires claim and claim to vacate deed for no meeting of the minds; and (3) the circuit court did not err in granting The Nature Conservancy summary judgment on IRAM’s claim to vacate the deed for failure of consideration. View "Institute of Range & American Mustang v. Nature Conservancy" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of the Brant Lake Sanitary District on Plaintiffs’ claims alleging a taking or damaging of their property and nuisance, holding that the circuit court did not err in granting the District’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs owned property a short distance from a new sewage lagoon built by the District to process wastewater from the Brant Lake area. In their complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the District’s new pond violated the general nuisance statute, the statutory prohibition against pollution of state waters, and a county ordinance. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint bringing an additional claim of inverse condemnation. The circuit court granted the District’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) questions of fact did not exist regarding Plaintiffs’ inverse condemnation claim, and Plaintiffs failed to present a claim of inverse condemnation; and (2) Plaintiffs failed to establish a cause of action based upon nuisance. View "Krsnak v. Brant Lake Sanitary District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment affirming a hearing examiner’s decision that an exemption from taxation for real property be increased to 100 percent but reversed the award of attorney fees, holding that the circuit court correctly upheld the hearing examiner’s decision but erred in its award of attorney fees. The Pennington County Board of Equalization established an exemption of thirty-two percent for the 2017 tax year for real property owned by American Legion Home Association Post 22. On American Legion’s administrative appeal, the hearing examiner concluded that the real property qualified for a 100 percent exemption under S.D. Codified Laws 10-4-9.2. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err in affirming the hearing examiner’s decision that the property was entitled to a 100 percent exemption under the statute; but (2) awarded attorney fees without sufficient information to determine a reasonable fee. The Court remanded the attorney fee issue. View "American Legion Home Ass’n Post 22 v. Pennington County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Larry Weisser, holding that Kayla Fluth’s satisfaction of judgment against Schoenfelder Construction, Inc. did not automatically discharge Weisser. Fluth sued Weissar and Schoenfelder to recover damages for flooding in her basement caused by a waterline leak on Weissar’s property. Prior to trial, Fluth accepted Schoenfelder’s offer of judgment for $7,500 and filed a satisfaction of judgment. Thereafter, Weisser filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that a satisfaction of judgment discharges all other joint tortfeasors from liability. The circuit court granted the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that Fluth did not discharge Weisser from liability if the satisfaction of judgment did not reflect a full satisfaction of Fluth’s damages, and on remand the court must determine whether Schoenfelder’s satisfaction of judgment was a full or partial satisfaction. View "Fluth v. Schoenfelder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit partitioning one of two parcels of land Tom Blue and Jim Blue inherited as tenants in common, awarding Tom owelty, and denying Tom’s claims for improvements and restitution, holding that the circuit court did not err in its judgment. Upon the death of their father, Tom and Jim inherited two interests in real estate as tenants in common. Approximately ten years later, Jim commenced this action to partition one of the parcels. Tom counterclaimed for the value of purported improvements and for restitution for the time he spent caring for both properties. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court, holding that the circuit court (1) did not err in denying Tom’s claims for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit; (2) did not abuse its discretion in controlling the presentation of evidence; and (3) did not clearly err or abuse its discretion in dividing certain land into equal quarter sections and ordering that Jim pay Tom $51,190 in owelty. View "Blue v. Blue" on Justia Law

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In this action to quiet title to real property owned by Defendants under a claim of adverse possession, the Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court finding that Plaintiff was entitled to the disputed property by adversely possessing it for forty years and dismissing Defendants’ counterclaim to quiet title to an adjacent property under a claim of adverse possession. Defendants opposed Plaintiff’s adverse possession claim on the basis that Plaintiff and his predecessor in interest occupied the disputed property with Defendants’ consent. After filing a counterclaim against Plaintiff, Defendants voluntarily dismissed the counterclaim before trial. The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment in this case, holding (1) permissive use does not ripen into a claim of hostility by the mere transfer of the dominant estate; (2) the circuit court erred by quieting title to the disputed property in favor of Plaintiff because his permissive use never ripened into one of hostility necessary to claim title by adverse possession; and (3) the circuit court abused its discretion by dismissing the counterclaim with prejudice, especially in light of the fact that Plaintiff did not oppose Defendants’ voluntary dismissal. View "Gangle v. Spiry" on Justia Law

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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