Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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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

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B.A.K. appealed an order for treatment in which the district court found her to be a person who was mentally ill and requiring treatment. B.A.K. was initially hospitalized after an outburst at her regular physician's office. In March 2018, her daughter petitioned for B.A.K.'s involuntary commitment. B.A.K.'s husband also attempted to commit B.A.K. while they were in Arizona for the winter. At the treatment hearing, the district court heard testimony about B.A.K.'s mental health deterioration and her refusal to take medication. In October 2017, B.A.K. started taking anxiety and depression medication. She then experienced joint pain, and she was prescribed a steroid. B.A.K. was also taking a prescribed statin for high blood pressure. B.A.K. decided to take herself off the anxiety and depression medications, and she eventually stopped taking all medications. B.A.K. believed she was being monitored, among other delusions. On appeal, B.A.K. argued the district court's order was not supported by clear and convincing evidence to show she was a mentally ill person and a person requiring treatment. After review of the Case, the North Dakota Supreme Court was "left with a definite and firm conviction" the district court's conclusion was not supported by clear and convincing evidence: "Despite Dr. Huber's testimony that she believed B.A.K. was a person requiring treatment, she also testified B.A.K. required no restraint, medication, or seclusion while hospitalized. ... Dr. Huber identified B.A.K. was manic and had delusional thoughts, but no evidence was presented showing a reasonable expectation B.A.K. would be a serious risk to herself, others, or property." The Court held the district court clearly erred in finding B.A.K. required treatment, and reversed the district court's order. View "Interest of B.A.K." on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Department of Transportation ("the DOT") took Rosie Glow, LLC's property through an eminent domain quick-take action. The DOT deposited $2,296,000.00 for the land and $940,860.00 for severance damages. Rosie Glow and the DOT disputed the value of the property taken. Rosie Glow's appraiser estimated the total compensation owed to Rosie Glow was $4,899,000.00, consisting of $3,788,400.00 for the land and $1,110,600.00 for severance damages. The jury awarded Rosie Glow $2,296,000.00 for property taken and $1,240,860.00 in severance damages, totaling $300,000.00 more than the DOT deposited. Rosie Glow appealed the district court's award of $32,400.00 in attorney fees and expert fees and litigation costs of $11,236.41. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. The Supreme Court determined the district court did not abuse its discretion in reducing the costs awarded for an appraisal because it adequately explained its reasoning. However, the Court found the district court abused its discretion in declining to award any costs for the appraiser's review of the DOT's appraisal because it did not explain its decision. The district court also misapplied the law by not awarding costs for the DOT's deposition of the appraiser. View "N.D. Dep't of Transportation v. Rosie Glow, LLC" on Justia Law

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Harold Olson appealed a district court order affirming the North Dakota Department of Transportation's ("Department") revocation of his driving privileges for two years, following an arrest for driving under the influence. The revocation of driving privileges for refusal to submit to chemical testing requires a valid arrest; in the absence of authority from Congress, the State lacks criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-member Indians on tribal land. Whether an officer has jurisdiction to arrest depends on the law of the place where the arrest is made. Olson argued the deputy lacked the authority to arrest him on tribal land and that a valid arrest was a prerequisite to revocation of his driving privileges. Absent a valid arrest, Olson argued the revocation order was not in accordance with the law. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the deputy lacked authority to arrest Olson, a non-member Indian, on Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation tribal land. The Court therefore reversed the district court's order affirming the Department's revocation of Olson's driving privileges and reinstated Olson's driving privileges. View "Olson v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Harold Olson appealed a district court order affirming the North Dakota Department of Transportation's ("Department") revocation of his driving privileges for two years, following an arrest for driving under the influence. The revocation of driving privileges for refusal to submit to chemical testing requires a valid arrest; in the absence of authority from Congress, the State lacks criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-member Indians on tribal land. Whether an officer has jurisdiction to arrest depends on the law of the place where the arrest is made. Olson argued the deputy lacked the authority to arrest him on tribal land and that a valid arrest was a prerequisite to revocation of his driving privileges. Absent a valid arrest, Olson argued the revocation order was not in accordance with the law. The North Dakota Supreme Court determined the deputy lacked authority to arrest Olson, a non-member Indian, on Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation tribal land. The Court therefore reversed the district court's order affirming the Department's revocation of Olson's driving privileges and reinstated Olson's driving privileges. View "Olson v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Cameron and Mary Susan Arnegard appealed a trial court judgment relating to a conditional use permit (CUP) obtained from Arnegard Township in McKenzie County, North Dakota. The Arnegards argued the district court erred in granting the Township's motion in limine to exclude a buy-sell agreement; denying their motion to amend their complaint on a due process claim; granting summary judgment dismissing their breach of contract, actual fraud and equitable estoppel claims; dismissing their negligence and deceit claims by directed verdict; and determining no party prevailed in the action. The Arnegards also argued the district court abused its discretion by denying their motion to amend their complaint at trial. The Township cross-appealed, arguing the district court erred in granting judgment as a matter of law in favor of the Arnegards' due process claim. Zoning ordinances and amendments are valid if a township follows the statutory procedures. A conditional use permit does not by itself create a contract between a township and a landowner. A township has no duty to disclose validly enacted zoning ordinances or amendments beyond the notice and filing procedures provided by statute. A claim of constitutional due process violation first requires a protected property interest created by an independent source of law. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court regarding dismissal of the Arnegards' breach of contract, actual fraud and equitable estoppel claims. The Court affirmed the judgment regarding directed verdicts in favor of the Township on the negligence and deceit claims. However, the Court reversed the judgment regarding the Arnegards' due process claim and the award of nominal damages, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "Arnegard v. Arnegard Township" on Justia Law

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Cameron and Mary Susan Arnegard appealed a trial court judgment relating to a conditional use permit (CUP) obtained from Arnegard Township in McKenzie County, North Dakota. The Arnegards argued the district court erred in granting the Township's motion in limine to exclude a buy-sell agreement; denying their motion to amend their complaint on a due process claim; granting summary judgment dismissing their breach of contract, actual fraud and equitable estoppel claims; dismissing their negligence and deceit claims by directed verdict; and determining no party prevailed in the action. The Arnegards also argued the district court abused its discretion by denying their motion to amend their complaint at trial. The Township cross-appealed, arguing the district court erred in granting judgment as a matter of law in favor of the Arnegards' due process claim. Zoning ordinances and amendments are valid if a township follows the statutory procedures. A conditional use permit does not by itself create a contract between a township and a landowner. A township has no duty to disclose validly enacted zoning ordinances or amendments beyond the notice and filing procedures provided by statute. A claim of constitutional due process violation first requires a protected property interest created by an independent source of law. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court regarding dismissal of the Arnegards' breach of contract, actual fraud and equitable estoppel claims. The Court affirmed the judgment regarding directed verdicts in favor of the Township on the negligence and deceit claims. However, the Court reversed the judgment regarding the Arnegards' due process claim and the award of nominal damages, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "Arnegard v. Arnegard Township" on Justia Law