Opinions

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Condon v. St. Alexius Medical Center, et al. 2019 ND 113
Docket No.: 20180297
Filing Date: 4/22/2019
Case Type: MALPRACTICE
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: Section 32-42-02, N.D.C.C., does not violate the equal-protection provisions of N.D. Const. art. I, § 21.

The right to recover for personal injuries is an important substantive right subject to the intermediate standard of equal-protection analysis.

A district court’s decision whether to grant or deny a new trial under N.D.R.Civ.P. 59(b) rests entirely within its discretion, and review of a denial of a new trial motion is limited to deciding whether the court manifestly abused its discretion.

Testimony from a physician that a plaintiff’s medical condition is permanent and would worsen is sufficient to establish foundation for future medical expenses.

Evidence of medical expenses can be admitted without an expert medical opinion that the expenses were necessitated by the defendant’s conduct.

When considering claims of prejudicial misconduct, courts consider the nature of the comments the jury heard, their probable effect on the jury in the context of the entire trial, and the district court’s instructions to the jury.

A district court has discretion to balance the probative value of proffered evidence against the dangers enumerated in N.D.R.Ev. 403.

A district court does not abuse its discretion by admitting expert testimony whenever specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact, even if the expert does not possess a particular expertise or specific certification.

When the verdict is reasonably within the scope of the evidence presented and the instructions of the court, the plaintiff is entitled to have judgment entered upon the jury’s verdict.

Tschider v. Tschider, et al. 2019 ND 112
Docket No.: 20180104
Filing Date: 4/18/2019
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: A premarital agreement may be unenforceable if it is unconscionable at the time of execution, at the time of separation or marital dissolution, or at the time of enforcement.

Whether a premarital agreement is unconscionable presents a question of law, but it turns on factual findings related to the relative property values, the parties’ financial circumstances, and their ongoing need.

A premarital agreement is a contract, and its interpretation is a question of law, which is reviewed de novo on the entire record on appeal.

A district court’s decisions regarding the division of marital property are treated as findings of fact and may be reversed on appeal if these findings are clearly erroneous.

The district court has broad discretion to award attorney fees in divorce proceedings.

Thompson, et al. v. Johnson 2019 ND 111
Docket No.: 20180386
Filing Date: 4/17/2019
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: Jensen, Jon J.

Highlight: District court erred on remand by finding child support obligor underemployed without explaining why its prior determination the obligor had a gross annual income of $171,560.66 and net annual income of $113,916 was incorrect.

Interest of K.S.D. 2019 ND 110
Docket No.: 20180260
Filing Date: 4/15/2019
Case Type: TERMINATION/PARENTAL RIGHTS
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: Motion to withdraw consent to termination of parental rights was untimely under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-45(6) because it was made more than thirty days after the order terminating parental rights was issued.

Rhodenbaugh v. Rhodenbaugh 2019 ND 109
Docket No.: 20180040
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: CHILD CUST & SUPPORT (Div.\Other)
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Interlocutory orders in an action are merged into the final judgment and may be reviewed on appeal of the judgment.

Review on appeal is limited to issues litigated below and the arguments presented on appeal.

An order holding a person in contempt is a final order for purposes of appeal. The time limit for filing a notice of appeal is jurisdictional, and we dismiss an appeal if we conclude we do not have jurisdiction.

A district court has broad discretion over the presentation of evidence and the conduct of trial, but it must exercise its discretion in a manner that best comports with substantial justice.

District courts have broad discretion to allow or refuse a party to reopen the record to introduce additional evidence.

State v. Valles 2019 ND 108
Docket No.: 20180320
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: For a warrantless search or seizure to fall into the abandonment exception, the State must show evidence of abandonment was present through objective facts known to the officer at the time of the search or seizure. Further, even when a cell phone is considered abandoned, a search of its contents is always considered unreasonable and thus is not permitted without a warrant.

Estate of Bartelson 2019 ND 107
Docket No.: 20180255
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: PROBATE - WILLS - TRUSTS
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: An appeal only from the denial of a motion for reconsideration does not permit the appellant to attack the underlying order from which the appeal could have been taken but was not brought.

State v. Stenhoff 2019 ND 106
Docket No.: 20180300
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: MISC. STATUTORY OFFENSE (FELONY)
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: Search of supervised probationer’s residence was constitutional where the probationer was incarcerated due to a probation violation, the supervised probation conditions included a search clause, and law enforcement officers had reasonable suspicion unlawful activity was afoot due to a child’s statement alluding to the presence of drugs at the probationer’s residence.

Conditions of probation may apply when a person is incarcerated until such time as the probation is terminated or revoked.

State v. Odum 2019 ND 105
Docket No.: 20180384
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: DRUGS/CONTRABAND
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Under the totality of the circumstances, probable cause existed for a search warrant based on evidence found during garbage search.

A sufficient nexus to the residence for the purposes of probable cause does not always require indicia of residency be found in the garbage.

Lupo v. McNeeley, et al. 2019 ND 104
Docket No.: 20180381
Filing Date: 4/11/2019
Case Type: PERSONAL INJURY
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: The statute of limitations of a claim for relief is not tolled by the defendant’s absence from the state under N.D.C.C. § 28-01-32 when the state’s courts can obtain jurisdiction by completing service of process by publication.

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