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Sargent Cty. Water Resource District v. Beck, et al.

Docket No. 20220357
Oral Argument: Wednesday, September 6, 2023 1:30 PM

Docket Info

Title
Sargent County Water Resource District,
a North Dakota Political Subdivision, Plaintiff, Appellee,
and Cross-Appellant
v.
Gregory S. Beck and Carol L. Beck, as Co-Trustees
of the Gregory S. Beck and Carol L. Beck Revocable
Living Trust dated September 8, 2020, Gerald P. Bosse
and Diana Bosse, as Co-Trustees of the Gerald and
Diana Bosse Irrevocable Land Trust dated the 13th day
of January, 2021, Gerald P. Bosse, Diana Bosse,
Mathew J. Bosse, Brent P. Bosse, and all other persons
unknown claiming an estate or interest in or lien or
encumbrance upon the real property described in the
Complaint, whether as heirs, legatees, devisees,
personal representatives, creditors or otherwise, Defendants
and
Paul Mathews as Personal Representative of the Estate
of Nancy I. Mathews, Phyllis Delahoyde, and
Daniel G. Delahoyde, Defendants, Appellants,
and Cross-Appellees
Case Type
CIVIL APPEAL : REAL PROPERTY
Appeal From
Case No. 2021-CV-00034
Southeast Judicial District, Sargent County
Jay A. Schmitz
Oral Argument 9/6/2023

Parties' Statement of Issues

  • Appellant

    [¶1] Whether the District Court erred as a matter of law in ruling that no evidence was presented to indicate that the Drain 11 Improvement Project is an illegal project in violation of N.D.C.C. § 32-15-05(1) because it exceeds the maximum maintenance levy pursuant to N.D.C.C. § 61-16.1-45; and whether the District Court simply erred as a matter of lawbased on the undisputed facts.
    [¶2] Whether the District Court erred in ruling that Defendants did not show that new evidence exists and was discovered which existed at the time of trial, and which indicates that the District could not afford to complete its Drain 11 Improvement Project and that the condemnation was therefore speculative and there was no need for it as required by N.D.C.C. § 32-15-05(2).
    [¶3] Regardless of whether evidence is “new” whether the District Court has authority to authorize a speculative condemnation in violation of N.D.C.C. § 32-15-05 and the North Dakota Constitution, as the District Court did here, or whether this is abuse of discretion and relief should have been granted under N.D.R.Civ.P. 60 or the District Court’s inherent authority and mandate to enforce the Constitution.

  • Appellee 1

    The drainage project that is the subject of this action is being funded with maintenance levy assessments. Appellants allege the project does not
    qualify as “maintenance” and therefore cannot be funded in that manner. Is a project that involves deepening, widening, straightening, and making safer
    an existing drain one that may be funded using maintenance levy assessments?
    The statute governing maintenance levy assessments states that water resource districts may not assume obligations for costs beyond the six-year
    maximum maintenance levy. Appellants claim that maximum is being exceeded here. Does a water resource district violate the statute when project costs above and beyond the maximum maintenance levy are being paid for through cost-share agreements with state and local entities as well as funds on hand?
    Appellants proffer evidence which they deem “newly discovered” and claim it entitles them to a new trial. Based on the same evidence, they also
    claim the condemnation at issue in this appeal is speculative and therefore unconstitutional. Was it an abuse of discretion by the district court to rule
    that this evidence which arose post-trial does not constitute “newly discovered evidence” within the meanings of Rules 59 and 60, N.D.R.Civ.P., and therefore does not warrant a new trial?
    First, North Dakota law mandates that private property may only be taken by eminent domain for an “authorized public use.” Drainage projects such
    as the one at issue in this appeal have long been considered authorized public uses, and yet Appellants contest its “legality.” Can landowners in an
    eminent domain action commenced by a water resource district make such arguments when they failed to challenge the district’s earlier decisions
    through the appeals process afforded by N.D.C.C. § 61-16.1-54? See Banderet v. Sargent County Water Resource District, 2019 ND 57, 923
    N.W.2d 809 (hereinafter, “Banderet”).
    And second, some of the landowners in this eminent domain action may seem familiar. That is because they were involved in Banderet, which was
    related to this same drainage project. There, this Court rejected identical arguments, deeming them foreclosed for the parties’ failure to timely appeal
    the District’s decision to proceed with the project. Can these landowners now raise those arguments once again in this action?


Summary

Paul Mathews as personal representative of the Estate of Nancy Mathews, Phyllis Delahoyde, and Daniel Delahoyde (collectively, “Landowners”) appeal from a judgment condemning their property. Sargent County Water Resource District (“District”) cross-appeals.

In June 2021, the District commenced this eminent domain action seeking to condemn permanent and temporary easements over properties adjacent to Drain 11. Drain 11 is a legal assessment drain in Sargent County that drains into the Upper Wild Rice River. The District sought to acquire the easements for a drainage improvement project. Landowners opposed the condemnation action. After a bench trial, the district court granted condemnation, entered judgment, and authorized the District to take possession of the property. Landowners moved for a new trial or to amend judgment, asserting newly discovered evidence. The court denied Landowners’ motion.

Landowners appeal the judgment and orders. The District cross-appeals, arguing Landowners’ arguments are foreclosed.


Briefs

Filing Date Description
05/22/2023 APPELLANT BRIEF View
06/23/2023 APPELLEE BRIEF View
07/07/2023 REPLY BRIEF (Paul Mathews) View
07/21/2023 REPLY BRIEF (Sargent County Water Resource District) View

Counsel

Party Type Name
APPELLANT PRIVATE PRACTICE Derrick Lance Braaten - 06394
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Christopher Michael McShane - 06207
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Robert Garold Hoy - 03527
APPELLEE PRIVATE PRACTICE Stephen J. Hilfer - 09555

(Note: Attachments may not be available for recently filed cases and/or confidential documents.)

Seq. # Filing Date Description Attachment
1 12/13/2022 NOTICE OF APPEAL : 12/13/2022 View
2 12/13/2022 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT : 12/27/2022 View
3 12/19/2022 Rec'd filing fee
4 12/20/2022 NOT. OF FILING NOT. OF APPEAL AND PROOF OF SERV. View
5 12/20/2022 Notice served on Derrick L. Braaten, Christopher M. McShane, Robert G. Hoy, & Stephen J. Hilfer
6 12/23/2022 NOTICE OF CROSS APPEAL View
7 12/23/2022 NOT. OF FILING NOT. OF APPEAL AND PROOF OF SERV. View
8 12/23/2022 Notice served on Derrick L. Braaten, Christopher M. McShane, Robert G. Hoy, & Stephen J. Hilfer
9 01/13/2023 ELEC. REC. ON APPEAL DATED JAN. 12, 2023 (ENTRY NOS.1-300)(Not Sent: 154) View
10 02/27/2023 MOT. EXT/TIME TRANSCRIPT View
11 02/27/2023 ACTION BY TRIAL COURT - Granted : 03/27/2023
12 02/27/2023 1ST ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED FEBRUARY 24, 2023 (ENTRY NOS. 301-303) View
13 03/02/2023 All Transcripts Filed in Record
14 03/06/2023 2ND ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 3, 2023 (ENTRY NOS. 304-316) View
15 03/28/2023 3RD ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 27, 2023 (ENTRY NOS. 317-321) View
16 03/27/2023 MOTION FOR REMAND View
17 03/30/2023 NO ACTION TAKEN (moot, dc ruled on moton)
18 03/31/2023 4TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED MARCH 30, 2023 (ENTRY NOS. 322-324) View
19 04/05/2023 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF View
20 04/06/2023 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE - Granted : 05/15/2023
21 05/15/2023 Non-Compliant ATB rec'd; given until 5/22/23 to revise (footnotes, spacing, length)
22 05/22/2023 APPELLANT BRIEF View
23 05/22/2023 Oral Argument Request by Appellants
24 05/24/2023 Rec'd 4 copies of ATB from CSD
25 06/09/2023 5TH ELEC. SUPP. RECORD ON APPEAL DATED JUNE 8, 2023 (ENTRY NOS. 325-327) View
26 06/21/2023 Rec'd non-compliant AEB
27 06/21/2023 Oral Argument Request by Appellee
28 06/23/2023 APPELLEE BRIEF View
29 06/23/2023 Oral Argument Request by Appellee
30 06/30/2023 Rec'd 4 copies of AEB from CSD
31 07/07/2023 REPLY BRIEF (Paul Mathews) View
32 07/10/2023 Rec'd 3 copies of RYB from CSD
33 07/21/2023 REPLY BRIEF (Sargent County Water Resource District) View
34 07/24/2023 Rec'd 3 copies of RYB (Sagrent) from CSD
35 07/28/2023 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
36 09/06/2023 APPEARANCES: Derrick L. Braaten, Robert G. Hoy & Stephen J. Hilfer
37 09/06/2023 ARGUED: Derrick L. Braaten and Robert G. Hoy
38 09/06/2023 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST