Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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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

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Leon Pfingsten appealed a district court order granting Owego Township's motion to dismiss an appeal. In 2015, several Owego Township residents petitioned for alteration of what was known as Bagoon Road. In April 2015 the Township sued Pfingsten to have that portion of Bagoon Road on Pfingsten's property declared a public road by prescriptive easement, to prevent Pfingsten from claiming any adverse interest in the road and to have damages awarded for Pfingsten's intentional injury to the road. The Township also sought access to Pfingsten's property for surveying. Pfingsten counterclaimed for trespass. The district court entered a stipulated order providing that the Township had the right to survey Pfingsten's land before December 31, 2016 and, upon completion of the survey, the Township would proceed with a taking action. The district court stayed the action until December 31, 2016. On September 26, 2016, the Township acted on the March 2015 petition and adopted and filed with the Township Clerk an order to alter highway and a statement of damages. The order to alter highway changed the location of Bagoon Road on Pfingsten's property; the statement of damages valued Pfingsten's two acres at $9,000. Pfingsten did not appeal the Township's award of damages. On December 3, 2016 the Township adopted a confirmation of order to alter highway and confirmation of statement of damages. On December 22, 2016 Pfingsten received a $9,000 check from the Township. He appealed to the district court on January 19, 2017. The Township moved to dismiss the appeal. The district court ruled that Pfingsten's appeal was untimely under N.D.C.C. sections 24-07-22 and 28-34-01 and granted the Township's motion to dismiss the appeal. Pfingsten argued on appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court the district court erred by concluding his appeal was untimely. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed: a township's determination or award of damages must be appealed within thirty days of filing under N.D.C.C. Sections 24-07-22 and 28-34-01. View "Owego Township v. Pfingsten" on Justia Law

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St. Alexius Medical Center, doing business as Great Plains Rehabilitation ("Great Plains"), appealed a district court judgment affirming a Department of Human Services ("the Department") determination that the Department was entitled to recoup overpayments made to Great Plains. Great Plains argued the Department's decision had to be reversed because the Department did not issue the decision within the statutory time limit, the Department did not provide a fair process for disputing the Department's position, and the Department's findings of fact are not supported by the evidence. Finding no reversible error in the district court or the Department's decisions, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "St. Alexius Medical Center v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services appealed a district court judgment reversing the Department's order deciding Sanford HealthCare Accessories received overpayments for medical equipment supplied to Medicaid recipients and ordering recoupment. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding the district court erred in deciding the Department's failure to comply with the statutory time requirement for issuing its final order precluded the Department from acting. View "Sanford Healthcare Accessories, LLC v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Trent Guthmiller appealed a district court judgment affirming a North Dakota Department of Transportation ("DOT") decision to disqualify his commercial driving privileges for 60 days. In October 2016, the DOT notified Guthmiller that his commercial driving privileges were disqualified because he had committed two serious traffic violations within the last three years. Guthmiller committed the violations of speeding and aggravated reckless driving. The violations occurred within three years, but the convictions were approximately three years and ten months apart. At the administrative hearing on his commercial driving disqualification, Guthmiller did not contest the commission of the violations. On appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court, Guthmiller argued the district court's order was not in accordance with the law. The Supreme Court reversed the district court's judgment and reinstated Guthmiller's commercial driving privileges: the statute unambiguously required two convictions within three years. View "Guthmiller v. N.D. Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Michele Brandt, as Trustee of the Michele L. Brandt Revocable Trust, appealed an order dismissing her appeal of the City of Fargo's resolution of necessity. Karen Wieland appealed a judgment dismissing her appeal to the district court from the City's resolution of necessity. In December 2016, the Fargo City Commission passed a resolution of necessity for property owned by Brandt related to construction of a flood protection project. Days later in a separate proceeding, the City passed a similar resolution of necessity for property owned by Wieland. Each resolution authorized the City to proceed with all legal means to obtain the property, including eminent domain. In each case the City filed a record on appeal in the district court and moved the court to dismiss the appeal. In Brandt's appeal, the City moved alternatively to consolidate Brandt's appeal with an eminent domain proceeding that the City also commenced in December 2016. In both appeals, Brandt and Wieland moved the district court to strike all materials from the record that had not specifically been placed in front of the city commission during the respective December 2016 meetings. After a February 22, 2017 hearing in Brandt's appeal, the district court entered an order granting the City's motion to dismiss and holding a resolution of necessity as a predicate to eminent domain is not subject to appellate review by the court. The court also held the City had not acted in bad faith, with a gross abuse of discretion, or fraudulently in passing the resolution of necessity. The order denied Brandt's motion to strike, concluding further consideration of the motion was moot. After a March 21, 2017 hearing in Wieland's appeal before a different judge, the district court entered an order and judgment dismissing Wieland's appeal. The court explained that the decision to go forward with an eminent domain proceeding is the City's political or legislative decision which the court could not review by appeal from issuance of the resolution. The City commenced an eminent domain proceeding for the Wieland property in April 2017. Because of similar dispositions, the North Dakota Supreme Court addressed both appeals in this decision and affirmed, concluding the court in each case did not err in dismissing the appeals because no statutory basis authorized an appeal to the district court from the City's resolutions of necessity. View "Brandt v. City of Fargo" on Justia Law