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New opinions: Sept. 30 Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Supreme Court has issued eight new opinions. 

The summaries are below.

To see an opinion, click on the "View Opinion" button. Opinions display in a printable format. Hyperlinks to all North Dakota opinions and rules cited in an opinion are included in the text: hover over the citation and click to follow the hyperlink.

See other Supreme Court opinions at:

State v. Marsolek 2021 ND 175
Docket No.: 20210041
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: A traffic stop has not been unlawfully prolonged if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe further criminal activity is afoot.

State v. Demerais 2021 ND 174
Docket No.: 20210012
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Case Type: ASSAULT
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: Criminal conviction for aggravated assault summarily affirmed under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(3).

Ineffective assistance of counsel claims generally should not be brought on direct appeal, because post-conviction relief proceedings provide a more appropriate forum to develop the evidentiary record necessary for such claims.

Thomas v. State 2021 ND 173
Docket No.: 20210056
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: Expert testimony is admissible whenever specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact.

Expert testimony is admissible to address questions of fact, not law.

City of Jamestown v. Nygaard 2021 ND 172
Docket No.: 20210049
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Case Type: DUI/DUS
Author: Crothers, Daniel John

Highlight: “When the wording of a statute is clear and free of all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit.” N.D.C.C. § 1-02-05.

The plain language of N.D.C.C. § 39-08-01(1)(f) does not require advice of criminal penalties to drivers before they can be charged with refusing a chemical breath test.

Continental Resources v. Armstrong, et al. 2021 ND 171
Docket No.: 20210060
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: McEvers, Lisa K. Fair

Highlight: An argument is without merit if the party does not provide supportive reasoning or citations to relevant authorities.

When ambiguity exists in an instrument conveying oil and gas interests, the parties’ intent is a question of fact requiring factual findings based on extrinsic evidence.

When the operator of an oil and gas well has relied to its detriment on a division order signed by an underpaid royalty owner, the underpaid owner is estopped from recovering from the operator. The estoppel rule does not apply when the underpayments are not made according to a signed division order.

RTS Shearing v. BNI Coal 2021 ND 170
Docket No.: 20200340
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: Tufte, Jerod E.

Highlight: Parties to a contract may incorporate contractual terms by reference to a separate, noncontemporaneous document, including a separate agreement to which they are not parties, and including a separate document which is unsigned.

Although whether one agreement has incorporated another has factual components, whether material has been incorporated presents a question of law.

Galvanizers, et al. v. Kautzman, et al. 2021 ND 169
Docket No.: 20210042
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: VandeWalle, Gerald W.

Highlight: The district court must make sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law after a bench trial to allow review of its decision on appeal.

Whether property held in the name of an individual belongs to the partnership is a question of fact.

Carpenter v. State 2021 ND 168
Docket No.: 20210104
Filing Date: 9/30/2021
Author: Per Curiam

Highlight: A district court order denying an application for post-conviction relief is summarily affirmed under N.D.R.App.P. 35.1(a)(2).