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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Ivey and Kornmann, a partnership, on the Partnership’s action brought against William Welk to collect on a debt, holding that the circuit court incorrectly resolved two preliminary questions of law that foreclosed the court’s analysis of numerous additional issues of law and fact that both parties raised on appeal. When the Partnership commenced this action, Welk raised numerous affirmative defenses and also filed counterclaims against the Partnership for breach of contract, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the Partnership on its action and on Welk’s affirmative defenses and counterclaims. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the circuit court erred in resolving the questions of law regarding the legal effect of the partnership agreement and the viability of Welk’s counterclaims and that numerous unaddressed issues must be addressed by the circuit court. View "Ivey & Kornmann v. Welk" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s issuance of protection orders in favor of Abigail Parker against both her husband Jordan Parker and Jordan’s sister, Jasmyn Bauer. The court (1) the court did not err in granting a protection order against Jordan on the grounds of domestic abuse because the court’s findings supported that Jordan knowingly and willfully engaged in a series of acts that repeatedly harassed Abigail; (2) the court’s findings supported the issuance of a protection order entered against Jasmyn; and (3) none of the parties was entitled to attorneys’ fees pursuant to S.D. Codified Laws 26A-87.3. View "Parker v. Parker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s termination of her parental rights to Child. Specifically, the court held (1) the circuit court’s interpretation of S.D. Codified Laws 16-22-6 did not result in the court relying on improper evidence, and the court did not err when it took judicial notice of two previous abuse and neglect files and Mother’s previous criminal files; and (2) the circuit court did not clearly err in determining that Mother could only remain sober in an institution such as the South Dakota State Women’s Prison and did not err in determining that termination of parental rights was the lease restrictive alternative. View "In re A.K.A.-C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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Prior to the 2016 general election, Theresa Maule Rossow filed a nominating petition to seek election as state’s attorney in Brule County and then Lyman County. Dedrich Koch filed a separate nominating petition seeking election as state’s attorney in Jerauld County and then Buffalo County. Competitors in the four counties brought separate lawsuits seeking to prevent Maule Rossow and Koch from running for state’s attorney in more than one county at a time. The circuit court in the Lyman and Buffalo Counties suits ruled that the candidates’ second filings were invalid for violating S.D. Codified Laws 12-6-3’s prohibition against dual candidacies. The Supreme Court consolidated Maule Rossow’s and Koch’s appeals and affirmed, holding (1) although the issue is now moot, the case falls under an exception to the mootness doctrine; and (2) section 12-6-3 prohibited Maule Rossow from seeking election as Lyman County state’s attorney and Koch from seeking election as Buffalo County state’s attorney. View "Larson v. Krebs" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Buyers and Sellers entered into a contract for deed of property. The contract for deed indicated that Buyers were purchasing the home “as is” and that neither party made any representations or warranties except those made in the contract for deed. Within a year after moving into the home, Buyers discovered major defects on the property. Buyers brought suit against Sellers alleging fraud and failure to disclose defects. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Sellers. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) the circuit court erred when it applied the parol evidence rule to exclude Buyers’ extrinsic evidence and when it granted summary judgment on Buyers’ fraud claims; and (2) the circuit court erred when it granted summary judgment on their claim that Sellers violated S.D. Codified Laws 43-4-38. View "Oxton v. Rudland" on Justia Law

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Ronald Johnson, a South Dakota State Penitentiary correctional officer, was murdered by two inmates during an escape attempt. Lynette Johnson, individually and on behalf of Ronald’s Estate (collectively, Johnson) sued the Department of Corrections (DOC) and a number of its employees in state court, alleging, among other claims, a violation of substantive due process rights under the state and federal constitutions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. DOC removed the case to federal court. The federal court granted summary judgment to DOC on the grounds of qualified immunity and remanded the remaining claims back to state court. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. After the case returned to state court, the circuit court granted DOC’s motion for summary judgment on Johnson’s remaining claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court properly dismissed Johnson’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; (2) no genuine issues of material fact existed as to Johnson’s fraudulent misrepresentation claim; and (3) the circuit court correctly determined that res judicata barred any constitutional due process claim arising under the South Dakota Constitution. View "Estate of Johnson v. Weber" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of several offenses charged in two indictments. The circuit court granted the State’s motion to join both indictments for trial. After a trial, Defendant was convicted of all offenses. Defendant appealed, arguing that the circuit court erred in joining the indictments and in admitting evidence of an unknown bystander’s report that Defendant may have possessed a gun. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in joining the indictments because the joinder was proper and Defendant failed to make a sufficient showing of prejudice; and (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the bystander’s report. View "State v. Goodshot" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of one count of first-degree manslaughter and received a sentence of life imprisonment. Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that the circuit court abused its discretion in light of other sentences imposed for manslaughter in Minnehaha County, as well as his lack of criminal history. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the sentencing court did not abuse its discretion by sentencing Defendant to life imprisonment where (1) the sentencing court could reasonably conclude that Defendant’s offense was among the most serious commissions of first-degree manslaughter, and (2) the court’s finding that rehabilitation was speculative was not clearly erroneous. View "State v. Talla" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of possessing cocaine and sentenced to imprisonment for five years, fully suspended on conditions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated when the trial court refused to grant Defendant’s motion to suppress and permitted an officer to testify that Defendant refused to provide a urine sample after her arrest; (2) the circuit court did not err by refusing to permit Defendant to offer evidence that the State did not obtain a warrant for a urine sample, and an officer’s testimony regarding Defendant’s statements was not inadmissible hearsay; and (3) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct during the State’s closing argument. View "State v. Stanley" on Justia Law

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Appellant appealed his conviction of five counts of possessing child pornography. Appellant argued (1) there was insufficient evidence to prove that he knowingly possessed child pornography; (2) S.D. Codified Laws 22-24A-3, the statute defining possession of child pornography, is unconstitutionally vague; and (3) he was convicted multiple times for a single act or course of conduct in violation of double jeopardy protections. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find that Appellant knowingly possessed the five images of child pornography for which he was charged; (2) there was no plain error for the court to notice with regard to the constitutionality of section 22-24A-3; and (3) there was no plain error for the court to notice with regard to double jeopardy. View "State v. Linson" on Justia Law