Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant’s appeal from a letter sent by the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles denying Appellant’s request to review her parole date again. Appellant, a prison inmate, did not appeal from the Board’s adjudication of her initial parole-eligibility date. Two years later, Appellant requested the Board to reconsider. The Board declined, and Appellant filed an administrative appeal in circuit court. The circuit court dismissed the appeal with prejudice, concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction because (1) the Board’s letter was not an appealable “decision, order, or action” within the meaning of S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-30.2; and (2) it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to review the Board’s final parole determination. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) the Board’s letter declining an additional review was not a final decision in a contested case that could be appealed to the circuit court; and (2) because Appellant did not appeal the Board’s final determination within thirty days as required by S.D. Codified Laws 1-26-31, the circuit court correctly concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear Appellant’s appeal. View "Peterson v. South Dakota Board of Pardons & Paroles" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order affirming the Department of Labor’s grant of summary judgment to Fall River County and against Plaintiff, a former County employee, who alleged that the County committed an unfair labor practice in refusing to hold a hearing on her grievance. In dismissing Plaintiff’s petition, the Department concluded that Plaintiff’s claim did not an allege an unfair labor practice because Plaintiff was not an employee at the time she filed her formal grievance. The circuit court affirmed, concluding that the Department of Labor lacked jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff’s claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the County’s refusal to provide a grievance hearing to a former employee did not constitute an unfair labor practice. View "Winslow v. Fall River County" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order affirming the Department of Labor’s grant of summary judgment to Fall River County and against Plaintiff, a former County employee, who alleged that the County committed an unfair labor practice in refusing to hold a hearing on her grievance. In dismissing Plaintiff’s petition, the Department concluded that Plaintiff’s claim did not an allege an unfair labor practice because Plaintiff was not an employee at the time she filed her formal grievance. The circuit court affirmed, concluding that the Department of Labor lacked jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff’s claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the County’s refusal to provide a grievance hearing to a former employee did not constitute an unfair labor practice. View "Winslow v. Fall River County" on Justia Law

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At issue was the Meade County Board of County Commissioners’ order approving incorporation of a proposed municipality of Buffalo Chip City and setting an election for voters to decide whether to assent to incorporation. After denying a request to stay the election, the election was held, and a majority of voters chose to incorporate Buffalo Chip City. The Board then declared Buffalo Chip City formally incorporated. The circuit court heard Appellees’ appeal and issued a judgment declaring that the Board’s order was invalid, that the election was a nullity, and that Buffalo Chip City was void. The Supreme Court reversed and vacated the circuit court’s judgment, holding that S.D. Codified Laws 9-3-20 requires that any action challenging Buffalo Chip City’s incorporation be brought by the State, and because Appellees did not bring their suit on behalf of the State, the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Lippold v. Meade County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment affirming a certificate of assessment issued by the Department of Revenue requiring Valley Power Systems, Inc. to pay alternate contractor’s excise tax, use tax, interest, and a penalty. Valley Power contracted with Black Hills Power, Inc. (BHP) to install new exhaust manifolds on five mobile power units that were used by a utility company to provide supplemental power at one of its power plants, but Valley Power did not pay any tax with respect to the transaction. Instead BHP paid use tax on the transaction. After an audit of both companies, the Department refunded BHP’s use tax and issued a certificate of assessment requiring Valley Power to pay $54,404. An administrative hearing examiner and the circuit court affirmed the assessment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Department did not err in concluding that Valley Power was required to pay excise and use tax. View "Valley Power Systems v. S.D. Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court reversing the decision of the Pennington County Board of Commissioners reversing the decision of the Pennington County Planning Director approving a construction permit for Croell Redi-Mix Inc. to continue using and expand an existing mining operation. On appeal, the Board argued that the issuance of the permit violated Pennington County’s zoning ordinances. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court erred by reversing the Board’s decision because (1) the Board properly entertained the appeal from the Director’s decision, and the circuit court erred in concluding otherwise; (2) the Board properly declined to issue a construction permit for the purpose of doing that which is prohibited under section 507(B) of the Pennington County Zoning Ordinance, and therefore, the circuit court erred by reversing the Board’s decision; and (3) the circuit court’s conclusion that the Board acted arbitrarily in denying the construction permit was premised on an erroneous interpretation of the controlling ordinances. View "Croell Redi-Mix, Inc. v. Pennington County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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The circuit court erred when it applied de novo review to a decision of the America Township Board of Supervisors and then reversed the Board’s decision downgrading a seven-mile stretch of road from full maintenance to minimum maintenance. A portion of the road at issue provided Appellees access to South Dakota Highway 50. Appellees appealed the Board’s decision. The circuit court reversed the Board’s decision and ordered that minimum maintenance signs be taken down. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) Appellees’ lawsuit was not barred by lack of standing or by sovereign immunity; (2) the circuit court did not err in concluding that the Board acted arbitrarily because the Board failed to consider an important aspect of the issue under S.D. Codified Laws 31-13-1.1; but (3) the circuit court should have remanded the matter back to the Board for a rehearing rather than applying de novo review to the Board’s decision. View "Surat v. America Township" 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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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