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In this insurance coverage dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed the denial of summary judgment in favor of Insurer but reversed the denial of summary judgment in favor of General Contractor. Homeowners sued General Contractor and Subcontractor for damages to their home. General Contractor, which was insured under a commercial general liability policy (CGL), requested defense and indemnification from Insurer. Insurer defended General Contractor under a reservation of rights. Insurer then filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a judgment that the CGL policy did not provide coverage for General Contractor in the underlying case. General Contractor and Insurer filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The circuit court denied the motions on the ground that a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding the foreseeability of Homeowners’ damages. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment denying General Contractor’s motion and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the CGL policy required Insurer to defend General Contractor against Homeowners’ suit for damages and that factual questions regarding foreseeability were not relevant to the existence of coverage under the policy. View "Owners Insurance Co. v. Tibke Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Department of Game, Fish, and Parks appealed the administrative actions of Troy, Valley, and Butler Townships’ respective boards of supervisors that vacated portions of several section-line highways in Day County, arguing that the highways provided access to bodies of water held in trust by the State for the public. The circuit court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision in regard to Valley and Butler Townships but reversed and remanded in regard to Troy Township, holding (1) the circuit court did not err in imposing the burden of proof on the Department; (2) the question of whether the public harm of cutting of access to a public resource is outweighed by the public benefit in vacating the highway at issue is a policy question and therefore not properly answered by the courts; (3) the circuit court’s findings that the Valley and Butler Townships’ actions were not arbitrary were not erroneous, but Troy Township’s resolutions and orders were arbitrary; and (4) the Department was not denied due process. View "State Department of Game, Fish & Parks v. Troy Township" on Justia Law

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This case concerned the Douglas County Planning and Zoning Administrator’s grant of a building permit for a hog confinement unit. Landowners applied for a writ of mandamus compelling the Administrator and the Douglas County Planning and Zoning Commission to comply with the county’s zoning ordinance revoking the permit. After a trial, the circuit court denied Landowners’ request, concluding (1) the hog barn did not fall under any of the permitted uses of land for which a building permit could be granted; but (2) a writ of mandamus could not be used to undo an already completed act, and principles of equity would not entitle Landowners to relief. The Supreme Court ultimately affirmed the circuit court’s decision denying Landowners a writ of mandamus, holding (1) the circuit court erred in determining that the facility was not a permitted use under the ordinances; but (2) because construction of the facility had already been completed at the time of trial, issuing a writ a mandamus to revoke the permit now would be ineffective. View "Hoffman v. Van Wyk" on Justia Law

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The case involved drainage issues between adjoining landowners. Robert and Nancy Rumpza and Zubke Brothers LLC (Brothers) brought this action against David and Marilyn Zubke seeking an injunction and damages. They alleged that the Zubkes changed the natural flow characteristics of water draining from the Zubkes’ property to the Rumpzas’ and Brothers’ properties. The circuit court granted an injunction against the Zubkes and awarded damages to the Rumpzas and Brothers. The Supreme Court affirmed the injunction and Brothers’ damages award but reversed the Rumpzas’ damages award, holding (1) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in granting the injunction; (2) the circuit court’s factual findings regarding Brothers’ measure of damages were not clearly erroneous; but (3) there was no support in the record for the court’s findings regarding the Rumpzas’ measure of damages. View "Rumpza v. Zubke" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claim alleging negligence in constructing a retaining wall from which Plaintiff suffered an injury. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the grounds that the statutory time period to bring a claim had expired because the retaining wall had been substantially completed more than ten years prior to the commencement of this action. See S.D. Codified Laws 15-2A-3. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that section 15-2A-3 did not bar the claim at issue because Plaintiff met her burden to set forth material facts to avoid application of the statute. View "Brude v. Breen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for eight offenses, rendered after a jury trial. The court held (1) the circuit court did not err in admitting certain out-of-court statements as res gestate evidence; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of possession of a controlled substance while armed with a firearm; (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of simple assault on a law enforcement officer while armed with a firearm; and (4) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of possession of a controlled substance. View "State v. Kiir" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s affirmance of the Board of Minerals and Environment’s determination that it had subject matter jurisdiction over a petition regarding mine permit Nos. 445 and 460. Robert Fowler and Harlan Schmidt, intervenors in LAC Mineral USA, LLC’s petition, brought this appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) mining application requirements and mining permit amendment application requirements are not requirements that need to be met for the Board to obtain subject matter jurisdiction over a mining permit or permit amendment application, and therefore, the circuit court correctly found that the Board had jurisdiction over the matter; (2) the intervenors waived the issue whether S.D. Codified Laws 45-6B-44 and S.D. Codified Laws 45-6B-45 denied Fowler due process; but (3) the circuit court and Board erred in determining that Fowler was not a landowner, as that issue was not properly before the circuit court or Board. View "In re LAC Minerals (USA), LLC’s Petitioner for Release of Reclamation Liability" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a jury verdict in favor of defendant David Stukel and reversed the circuit court’s decision requiring Stukel to pay a portion of the fee for an expert witness called by plaintiff Mervin Nicolay. Nicolay sued Stukel and K&K Management Services, Inc. after Stukel’s vehicle struck the rear of Nicolay’s vehicle, alleging negligence and negligence per se. A jury unanimously found that Stukel was not negligent. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court (1) did not err by denying Nicolay’s motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of Stukel’s liability; (2) did not err by denying Nicolay’s motion for a new trial; (3) did not err by admitting a patrolman’s deposition, during which Stukel’s attorney showed the patrolman a newspaper article to refresh his memory; but (4) erred by requiring Stukel to pay a portion of the disputed expert witness fee. View "Nicolay v. Stukel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s convictions for six counts of perjury but affirmed her convictions for six counts of offering false or forged instruments for filing. The convictions stemmed from Defendant’s act of signing a sworn verification that she personally circulated nominating petitions containing voters’ signatures in order to get her name placed on the ballot for election to the United States Senate. Defendant, however, did not personally circulate these petitions, which she submitted to the Secretary of State. The Supreme Court held (1) signing a nominating petition under a written oath before submitting it to a state authority is not a statement made in a “proceeding or action” under S.D. Codified Laws 22-29-1, and therefore, the circuit court erred in denying Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the perjury charges; (2) submitting a nominating petition with a circulator’s verification signed by someone other than the person who circulated the petition is offering a false or forged instrument under S.D. Codified Laws 22-11-28.1; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions for offering false or forged instruments for filing. View "State v. Bosworth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of Son’s action to invalidate amendments to Settlor’s revocable trust to expressly disinherit Son as well as the dismissal of Son’s breach of fiduciary duty claim and request for an accounting. Following Settlor’s death, Son commenced this action to invalidate the amendments to Settlor’s revocable trust on the grounds that Settlor lacked capacity and was unduly influenced. Son also made a claim for breach of fiduciary duty and requested an accounting. The circuit court dismissed the petition, finding that Son’s claims were barred by S.D. Codified Laws 55-4-57(a)’s time limitations for commencing a judicial proceeding. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court correctly dismissed the lack of capacity and undue influence claims as untimely; (2) because Son did not commence an action against the trustee of the trust in her individual capacity, the circuit court did not err in dismissing the breach of fiduciary duty claim; and (3) the circuit court did not err in dismissing Son’s request for an accounting where Son had no standing to demand an accounting. View "In re Elizabeth A. Briggs Revocable Living Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates