Articles Posted in North Dakota Supreme Court

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services appealed a district court judgment reversing the Department's order deciding Altru Specialty Services, doing business as Yorhom Medical Essentials, received overpayments for medical equipment supplied to Medicaid recipients and ordering recoupment. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not have jurisdiction and the appeal should have been dismissed because Yorhom failed to satisfy statutory requirements for perfecting an appeal. View "Altru Specialty Services, Inc. v. N.D. Dep't of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Traill Rural Water District ("TRWD") appealed a judgment that granted damages for overdue rent to Daniel and Marlene Motter ("the Motters"). In 2006 Melba Motter, through her estate's conservator Alerus Financial, leased approximately forty acres of land in rural Steele County to TRWD at $250 per acre for ninety-nine years. Attorneys for both Melba's estate and TRWD negotiated the leases. In January 2011 Daniel Motter, grandson of Melba, and Daniel's wife Marlene acquired title to the land, including the leases. Daniel received offers from TRWD to renegotiate the leases during the period from 2006 to 2011, when he farmed the land but did not own it. Daniel reviewed the TRWD leases in 2014 and claimed back rent of $10,000 per year for the full forty acres from 2011 through 2014. TRWD offered $4,500 compared to Motter's initial calculation of $31,300. The district court acknowledged the mathematical error and adjusted to $51,500 for the five years from 2011 to 2015. The parties' different interpretations led to this lawsuit. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not err in denying reformation of two leases on the Motters' land and did not abuse its discretion in granting a new trial. View "Motter v. Traill Rural Water District" on Justia Law

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North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") appealed a judgment affirming a decision of an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") that had reversed WSI's administrative reclassification of Questar Energy Services, Inc.'s ("Questar") employees. n July 2012, Questar applied for and received insurance coverage from WSI. Following an audit in 2014, WSI determined Questar's employees had been improperly classified and reclassified Questar's employees. The classification of employees directly impacts the insurance rate used to calculate Questar's premiums for the insurance received from WSI. WSI contends the ALJ applied the wrong standard of review, improperly excluded from evidence the changes to the Rate Classification Manual, and erred in determining classification of Questar's employees was not supported by the record. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded after review, the ALJ's underlying factual conclusions were supported by a preponderance of the evidence, and affirmed. View "WSI v. Questar Energy Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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North Dakota, by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Youth Correctional Center, petitioned for a supervisory writ directing a district court to vacate its July 18, 2017 order denying the State's motion for summary judgment on Delmar Markel's negligence claim. Markel cross-petitioned for a supervisory writ directing the district court to vacate its January 21, 2016 order dismissing Markel's claim for constructive and retaliatory discharge. Markel worked at the North Dakota Youth Correctional Center on December 9, 2012, when several inmates broke out of their locked rooms. The inmates injured Markel during their escape. In 2015, Markel brought a complaint against the State alleging one count of negligence for failure to fix faulty locks permitting the inmates to escape and one count of constructive and retaliatory discharge. The State argued that the Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") Act in N.D.C.C. Title 65 barred Markel's negligence claim and that Markel failed to exhaust administrative remedies regarding his discharge claim. On January 21, 2016, the district court dismissed the discharge claim for failure to pursue available administrative remedies. The district court also denied the State's motion to dismiss Markel's negligence claim. The North Dakota Supreme Court exercised its original jurisdiction by granting the State's petition and denying Markel's cross-petition. The district court erred as a matter of law in denying the State's motion to dismiss Markel's negligence claim. Markel failed to allege and support at least an "intentional act done with the conscious purpose of inflicting the injury" to overcome the State's immunity. The State had no adequate remedy to avoid defending a suit from which it has immunity. View "North Dakota v. Haskell" on Justia Law

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A.D., mother of P.T.D., C.R.D., P.A.D., P.P.D., and N.A.D., appealed a juvenile court order finding her five children were deprived under N.D.C.C. 27-20-02(8). These proceedings arose after the State alleged the children were subject to repeated exposure to domestic violence between A.D. and T.D.; A.D.'s methamphetamine and other substance abuse and the presence of controlled substances in the home; T.D.'s suicide attempts; and other mental health issues. After the deprivation hearing, the juvenile court found the children were deprived by clear and convincing evidence. The juvenile court ordered the children removed from the care, custody, and control of their parents on February 13, 2017. The North Dakota Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding the juvenile court noted drug use, mental health issues, domestic violence, and other health issues in its order, but it failed to connect those facts to the children's deprivation. The Court remanded with instructions that the juvenile court make adequate findings of fact to determine whether P.T.D., C.R.D., P.A.D., P.P.D., and N.A.D. were deprived children based on the evidence presented at the initial deprivation hearing. View "Interest of P.T.D." on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Department of Transportation appealed a district court judgment reversing a Department hearing officer's decision to suspend Alexis Glaser's driving privileges for two years. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded Glaser failed to rebut the prima facie evidence of the time of the accident on the report and notice, showing her chemical Intoxilyzer test was administered within two hours of driving. Furthermore, the Court concluded a reasoning mind could reasonably conclude Glaser drove or was in physical control of a motor vehicle within two hours of performance of a chemical test was supported by a preponderance of the evidence on the entire record. The Court therefore reversed the judgment and reinstated the suspension of Glaser's driving privileges for two years. View "Glaser v. N.D. Dept. of Transportation" on Justia Law

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William Wilkinson and the other plaintiffs appeal and Statoil & Gas, LP and EOG Resources, Inc. cross-appeal from a summary judgment determining the Board of University and School Lands of the State of North Dakota ("Land Board") owns certain property below the ordinary high watermark of the Missouri River. Wilkinson argues the district court erred in determining ownership of the mineral interests. Chapter 61-33.1, N.D.C.C., became effective on April 21, 2017. The proceedings in this case began in 2012, and the trial court granted summary judgment in May 2016. Chapter 61-33.1, N.D.C.C., only applied to this case if it applied retroactively. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded N.D.C.C. ch. 61-33.1 applied retroactively, and that the district court did not have an opportunity to consider this statutory provisions when it decided ownership of the disputed minerals. The Supreme Court, therefore, remanded this case for the district court to determine whether N.D.C.C. ch. 61-33.1 applied and governs ownership of the minerals at issue in this case. View "Wilkinson v. Board of University and School Lands of the State of N.D." on Justia Law

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K.S., the mother of three minor children, appealed the termination of her parental rights. A petition to terminate her rights was filed after one day in June 2017, law enforcement and ambulance service was called to her residence; police found K.S. unconscious on the bathroom floor with a needle in her arm. Her extremities were blue and she was gasping for breath. It was alleged she was experiencing a drug overdose. Ward County Social Services moved the juvenile court to reopen the termination of parental rights proceeding for an evidentiary hearing regarding the overdose. K.S. opposed the motion. The court granted the motion because it had not yet issued a final order and the facts of the underlying incident may have a direct bearing on the matter. After a supplemental evidentiary hearing, the court entered an order terminating the parental rights of the three children. K.S. argued the juvenile court abused its discretion in granting a motion to reopen the record. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court did not abuse its discretion in reopening the record for a supplemental hearing and affirmed. View "Interest of F.S., M.S., Jr., and M.S." on Justia Law

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Landowners from the Buffalo area appealed a district court judgment affirming the Department of Health's decision to issue Rolling Green Family Farms an animal feeding operation (AFO) permit. The landowners argued the Department erred by issuing Rolling Green an AFO permit and by failing to reopen the public comment period after Rolling Green provided further information to supplement its permit application. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Coon v. N.D. Dep't of Health" on Justia Law

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Marqus Welch appealed, and Workforce Safety and Insurance ("WSI") cross-appealed a judgment affirming an administrative law judge's ("ALJ") decision that affirmed a WSI order ending Welch's vocational rehabilitation benefits and disability benefits and that reversed a WSI order finding Welch committed fraud and requiring him to repay benefits. To trigger the civil penalties for making a false statement in connection with a claim for WSI benefits, WSI must prove: (1) there is a false claim or statement; (2) the false claim or statement is willfully made; and (3) the false claim or statement is made in connection with any claim or application for benefits. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the ALJ did not err in affirming WSI's disability benefits order because a reasoning mind could reasonably conclude Welch could return to work. The Court concluded, however, the ALJ misapplied the law in failing to apply the proper definition of "work" and in analyzing whether Welch had "willfully" made false statements. View "Welch v. Workforce Safety & Insurance" on Justia Law