Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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William Beaulieu appealed a district court judgment reversing an administrative law judge's ("ALJ") order awarding benefits and affirming prior Workforce Safety & Insurance ("WSI") orders. The ALJ's order finding Beaulieu had a fifty percent permanent partial impairment rating was not in accordance with the law and not supported by the evidence. Therefore, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the ALJ erred in awarding permanent partial impairment and permanent total disability benefits. View "WSI v. Beaulieu" on Justia Law

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Tre Schoon appealed a district court judgment affirming a Department of Transportation decision suspending his driving privileges for two years. Schoon argued that because he was given an incomplete implied consent advisory, evidence of his blood test results was inadmissible under N.D.C.C. 39-20-01(3)(b). After review of the record, the North Dakota Supreme Court agreed the advisory was incomplete and reversed the district court. View "Schoon v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Joshua Rose appealed a district court order denying his motion to reinstate his driver's license. Because the district court was without subject matter jurisdiction to review the Minot Regional Child Support Unit's decision to suspend Rose's license, the North Dakota Supreme Court vacated the orders relating to his suspension. View "North Dakota v. Rose" on Justia Law

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N.B., the father, and J.G., the mother, appealed a juvenile court order finding their child, J.B., to be a deprived child and granting legal custody to Cass County Social Services. A "deprived child" under North Dakota law is a child who is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals, and the deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial means of the child's parents, guardian, or other custodian. The phrase "proper parental care" meant the minimum standards of care which the community will tolerate. "A court need not await the happening of a tragic event to protect a child, particularly when a sibling has been found to be deprived. Abuse of one child is relevant to the care a parent will provide to other siblings." After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court determined clear and convincing evidence supported the juvenile court's finding that J.B. was deprived and affirmed the order. View "Interest of J.B." on Justia Law

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D.D. appealed a district court order requiring his involuntary hospitalization and treatment, directing law enforcement to seize D.D.'s firearms, and finding that federal and state firearm restrictions applied to him. And application for evaluation and emergency admission was filed, request for transportation for emergency detention made, and petition for involuntary commitment, alleging that D.D. was mentally ill and in need of emergency treatment was granted. D.D. was admitted to the North Dakota State Hospital. After a preliminary hearing, the district court ordered involuntary hospitalization and treatment at the State Hospital for fourteen days, and found the firearm restrictions under 18 U.S.C. sections 922(d)(4), 922(g)(4), and N.D.C.C. 62.1-02-01(1)(c) applied. Law enforcement seized about 100 firearms from D.D.'s residence. The State Hospital released D.D. three days after that seizure. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court's conclusion that the state and federal firearms restrictions were not unconstitutionally vague and applied to D.D. However, the Court reversed the order to seize D.D.'s firearms because neither the state nor the district court identified legal authority for issuing a summary seizure order as part of a mental health commitment process. View "Interest of D.D." on Justia Law

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Roland Riemers petitioned the North Dakota Supreme Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and issue a writ of mandamus directing the North Dakota Secretary of State Alvin Jaeger to order a recount of the June 12, 2018 primary election for the office of secretary of state. Riemers argued he was entitled to an automatic recount under N.D.C.C. 16.1-16-01(1)(a) because he "failed to be nominated in a primary election by one percent or less of the highest vote cast for a candidate for the office sought." The Supreme Court determined the plain language of N.D.C.C. § 16.1-16-01(1)(a) requires a comparison of the highest votes cast for a candidate for the office sought without regard to the candidate's party. “The fact that we are required to construe N.D.C.C. 16.1-16-01(1)(a) does not preclude the remedy of mandamus.” Moreover, given the time constraints on ballot preparation for the general election, the Court determined no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy at law was available for Riemers. Under the plain language of N.D.C.C. 16.1-16-01(1)(a), Riemers was entitled to an automatic recount, and the Secretary of State was statutorily required to order that automatic recount. The Supreme Court exercised its original jurisdiction to consider Riemers' petition, and granted his request for a writ of mandamus. View "Riemers v. Jaeger" on Justia Law

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D.L., mother of G.L., appeals from the juvenile court's order and judgment to continue guardianship of G.L. The mother argues the juvenile court erred in its determination of exceptional circumstances for continuing the guardianship. In 2015, the State filed a petition alleging G.L. (born in 2009) and her sister E.L. (born in 2001) were deprived. The parents, D.L. and T.S. (father), stipulated to a guardianship, placing both girls in the care of the eldest daughter, B.Y. The juvenile court entered an order appointing the eldest daughter as guardian and found both children deprived under N.D.C.C. 27-20-02(8)(a). The guardianship was to remain in place until the children turned eighteen. In late 2016, the mother wrote a letter to the juvenile court asking for a review of the guardianship. Two weeks later the mother wrote another letter stating the guardianship continued to be in G.L.'s best interests. Shortly after, the mother again changed her mind and asked for a review hearing. The juvenile court treated the communications as a motion to terminate the guardianship and on July 26-27 and August 24, 2017 held a hearing. At the start of the hearing the mother abandoned her request to review her middle daughter's guardianship. The juvenile court found the mother demonstrated a change in circumstances by stabilizing her living situation, obtaining full-time employment, effectively dealing with addiction, and improving her mental and emotional health. The juvenile court found the impediments creating the deprivation had been removed. The juvenile court then shifted the burden of proof to the guardian to establish by preponderance of the evidence that continuation of the guardianship remains in the best interest of the child. The juvenile court continued the guardianship, ordered the guardian's husband added as co-guardian, and gave the guardian authority to establish a visitation schedule with input from G.L.'s therapist and guardian ad litem. The mother appealed the order and judgment. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding the juvenile court failed to find exceptional circumstances and thus misapplied the law. The juvenile court also impermissibly delegated visitation scheduling responsibilities. View "Interest of G.L." on Justia Law

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Cass County Social Services ("Cass County") appealed a juvenile court order denying termination of parental rights. B.H., born in June 2016, was the child of S.H. (mother) and C.H. (father). In July 2016, the juvenile court concluded that B.H. was a deprived child; had been subjected to aggravated circumstances due to prenatal exposure to methamphetamine; and ordered that B.H. be removed from the custody of the parents for a period of one year. The court also ordered that a treatment plan be developed in an effort to reunite B.H. with his parents. B.H. was returned to the parental home in October 2016. In March 2017, the mother and father tested positive for methamphetamine. B.H. remained in the home because the father intended to vacate the home and the mother committed to re-engage in treatment services. The father, who had pressured the mother to use drugs prior to the March test, left the home, but soon returned. In October 2017, both mother and child tested positive for methamphetamine. The father stated he could not be given a hair follicle test for methamphetamine because he had removed all his hair. B.H. was removed from the home, and Cass County petitioned for termination of both parents' parental rights. After a trial, the juvenile court denied termination of parental rights because it could not find by clear and convincing evidence that the conditions and causes of the deprivation were likely to continue or would not be remedied. Cass County argues that because the juvenile court found aggravated circumstances, it erred by denying termination of parental rights. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the juvenile could did not abuse its discretion by denying the petition for termination of parental rights, and accordingly, affirmed the order. View "Interest of B.H." on Justia Law

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Daniel Peltier appealed an order denying his motion for relief from a child support judgment. Peltier argued the district court erred in denying his motion because the Turtle Mountain Tribal Court had exclusive subject matter jurisdiction to decide his child support obligation. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the state district court had concurrent jurisdiction to decide Peltier's child support obligation, and the district court did not err in denying his motion for relief from the judgment. View "North Dakota v. Peltier" on Justia Law

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S&B Dickinson Apartments I, LLC, and Dickinson Properties, LLC, appealed a judgment affirming the Stark County North Dakota Board of Commissioners' denial of their requests for an abatement of property taxes for the year 2016. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not have jurisdiction and the appeals should have been dismissed because the statutory requirements for perfecting an appeal were not followed. The Court therefore reversed and remanded for entry of judgment dismissing the appeals. View "S&B Dickinson Apartments I, LLC v. Stark County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law